Graded chronic pain scale revised: mild, bothersome, and high-impact chronic pain

Michael Von Korff, Lynn L. DeBar, Erin E. Krebs, Robert D. Kerns, Richard A. Deyo, Francis J. Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Drawing on advances in chronic pain metrics, a simplified Graded Chronic Pain Scale-Revised was developed to differentiate mild, bothersome, and high-impact chronic pain. Graded Chronic Pain Scale-Revised was validated among adult enrollees of 2 health plans (N = 2021). In this population, the prevalence of chronic pain (pain present most or every day, prior 3 months) was 40.5%: 15.4% with mild chronic pain (lower pain intensity and interference); 10.1% bothersome chronic pain (moderate to severe pain intensity with lower interference with life activities); and 15.0% high-impact chronic pain (sustained pain-related activity limitations). Persons with mild chronic pain vs those without chronic pain showed small differences on 10 health status indicators (unfavorable health perceptions, activity limitations, and receiving long-term opioid therapy), with nonsignificant differences for 7 of 10 indicators. Persons with bothersome vs mild chronic pain differed significantly on 6 of 10 indicators (eg, negative pain coping beliefs, psychological distress, unfavorable health perceptions, and pain-related interference with overall activities). Persons with high-impact chronic pain differed significantly from those with mild chronic pain on all 10 indicators. Persons with high-impact chronic pain, relative to those with bothersome chronic pain, were more likely to have substantial activity limitations (significant differences for 4 of 5 disability indicators) and more often received long-term opioid therapy. Graded Chronic Pain Scale-Revised strongly predicted 5 activity-limitation indicators with area under receiver operating characteristic curve coefficients of 0.76 to 0.89. We conclude that the 5-item Graded Chronic Pain Scale-Revised and its scoring rules provide a brief, simple, and valid method for assessing chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-661
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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