British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 21 Issue 4 (November 1982), Pages 239-358

The McGill Pain Questionnaire: A replication of its construction (pages 339-349)

The McGill Pain Questionnaire is in widespread use as a means of understanding the pain patient and monitoring treatment response. The current study consists of a replication of the construction of the questionnaire through the use of maximally dissimilar methodology and statistical techniques. The study comprised two stages: (a) an attempt to replicate the grouping of words within the questionnaire; and (b) an investigation of the intensity relationships of words within each subgroup. A direct grouping technique was used for stage (a), whereby 90 subjects sorted the words into semantically similar groups. A similarity matrix was constructed in terms of the number of times each word was associated with each of the other 78 words and subjected to cluster analysis. Inspection of the 20‐group solution revealed considerable similarity with the original questionnaire. The intensity relationships were examined by asking a further group of 20 subjects to rate words on analogue scales. The results suggest a unidimensional solution to be inappropriate for a proportion of the subgroups. While there was a close resemblance with the MPQ, there was evidence for reducing the number of subgroups, as a 16‐group solution offered a sensible and statistically parsimonious amalgamation. The implications of this work for the use of questionnaire methods are discussed.

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