Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) commonly co-occurs with chronic pain. Although PTSD symptoms are associated with negative health outcomes in patients with chronic pain, PTSD is typically under-detected and under-treated in outpatient pain settings. There is a need for rapid, brief screening tools to identify those at greatest risk for severe PTSD symptoms. To achieve that goal, our aim was to use item response theory (IRT) to identify the most informative PTSD symptoms characterizing severe PTSD in patients with chronic pain.Fifty-six patients (71% female, 61% White) with mixed etiology chronic pain completed the PTSD Checklist Civilian Version (PCL-C) as part of their appointment with a pain psychologist at a tertiary outpatient pain clinic. We used an IRT approach to evaluate each item's discriminant (a) and severity (b) parameters.Findings revealed that 'feeling upset at reminders' (a = 3.67, b = 2.44) and 'avoid thinking or talking about it' (a = 3.61, b = 2.17) as being highly discriminant for severe PTSD.We identified two candidate items for a brief PTSD screener as they were associated with severe PTSD symptoms. These two items may provide clinical utility in outpatient pain treatment settings to identify those suffering from severe PTSD enabling physicians to refer them to trauma-specific evaluation or therapy. Future research is needed to further validate and confirm these candidate PTSD items in a larger clinic sample.
View details for DOI 10.1111/papr.12848
View details for PubMedID 31646748