The Brief Pain Inventory (BPI-SF) is a widely-used generic pain interference scale, however its factor structure remains unclear. An expanded 10-item version of the Interference subscale has been proposed, but the additional value of the 3 extra items has not been rigorously evaluated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and contrast the factorial and concurrent validity of the original 7-item and 10-item versions of the BPI-SF in a large heterogeneous sample of patients with chronic pain.
Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted on independent subsets of the sample, and concurrent correlations with scales capturing similar constructs were evaluated.
Two independent exploratory factor analyses
(n= 500 each) supported a single interference factor in both the 7- and 10-item versions, while confirmatory factor analysis ( N=1000) suggested that a 2-factor structure (Physical and Affective) provided better fit. A 3-factor model, where sleep interference was the third factor, improved in model fit further. There was no significant difference in model fit between the 7- and 10-item versions. Concurrent associations with measures of general health, pain intensity and pain-related cognitions were all in the anticipated direction and magnitude and were not different by version of the BPI-SF. Conclusions and implications
The addition of 3 extra items to the original 7-item Interference subscale of the BPI-SF did not improve psychometric properties. The combined results lead us to endorse a 3-factor structure (Physical, Affective, and Sleep Interference) as the more statistically and conceptually sound option.