Instrument: PROMIS Pain Intensity - Short Form 3a v1.0


The PROMIS(r) Pain Intensity instrument assesses how much a person hurts. Patients are usually able to provide quantitative pain intensity estimates relatively quickly, and most measures of pain intensity tend to be closely related to one another. This suggests that pain intensity is a fairly homogeneous dimension, and one that is relatively easy for adults to identify and gauge.

The Pain Intensity short form (3a) was constructed by the domain team. Domain experts reviewed short forms to give input on the relevance of each item. Psychometric properties and clinical input were both used and likely varied in importance across domains. The Pain Intensity short form is universal rather than disease-specific. The first two items in the Pain Intensity item bank assess pain intensity utilizing a 7–day recall period (items include the phrase "the past 7 days") while the last item asks patient to rate their pain intensity “right now.” The Pain Intensity instrument is available for adults (ages 18+).

Patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures use answers that patients provide to questions to produce numeric values which indicate patients' state of wellbeing or suffering as well as their ability or lack of ability to function. The Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS(r)), funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to provide clinicians and researchers access to efficient, precise, valid, and responsive adult- and child-reported measures for physical, mental, and social well-being. PROMIS(r) tools measure what patients are able to do and how they feel by asking questions. PROMIS measures can be used as primary or secondary endpoints in clinical studies of the effectiveness of treatment, and PROMIS tools can be used across a wide variety of chronic diseases and conditions and in the general population. When used with traditional clinical measures of health, the data collected in PROMIS provide clinicians and researchers with important patient-reported information to better understand how various treatments might affect what patients are able to do and the symptoms they experience. The PROMIS initiative is part of the NIH goal to develop systems to support NIH-funded research supported by all of its institutes and centers.

This instrument is available on the PROMIS website through the Assessment Center, which houses all PROMIS instruments for each domain. Assessment Center is a free online research management tool enabling researchers to create study-specific websites for capturing participant data securely. PROMIS instruments are a central feature of the instrument library within Assessment Center. Any PROMIS measure can be included in an online study or downloaded for administration on paper. Detailed statistical information and development history about PROMIS items and instruments are available for review at

Instrument Usage: 
Clinical Research

Broderick JE, Schneider S, Junghaenel DU, Schwartz JE, Stone AA (2013). Validity and reliability of Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System instruments in osteoarthritis. Arthritis Care and Research 5(10):1625-33. (PMCID: PMC3779528)

Cella D, Riley W, Stone A, Rothrock N, et al (2010). The Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) developed and tested its first wave of adult self–reported health outcome item banks: 2005–2008. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 63(11):1179–94. (PMCID: PMC2965562)

Cella D, Yount S, Rothrock N, Gershon R, Cook K, Reeve B, Ader D, Fries JF, Bruce B, Matthias R, PROMIS Cooperative Group (2007). The Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS): Progress of an NIH Roadmap Cooperative Group during its first two years. Medical Care 45(5):S3–11. (PMID: 17443116)

Chen W-H, Revicki DA, Lai JS, Cook KF, Amtmann D (2009). Linking pain items from two studies onto a common scale using item response theory. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 38(4):615-28. (PMCID: PMC2761512)

Hays RD, Bjorner J, Revicki RA, Spritzer KL, Cella D (2009). Development of physical and mental health summary scores from the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) global items. Quality of Life Research 18(7):873-80. (PMCID: PMC2724630)

Reeve B, Hays RD, Bjorner J, Cook K, Crane PK, et al (2007). Psychometric evaluation and calibration of health-related quality of life item banks: Plans for the Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS). Medical Care 45(5):S22-31.

Revicki DA, Kawata A, Harnam N, Chen W-H, Hays RD, Cella D (2009). Predicting EUROQOL (EQ-5D) scores from the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) global items and domain item banks in a United States sample. Quality of Life Research 18(6):783-91. (PMCID: PMC2704290)

Sample Form: 
ModuleModule ID
PROMIS Pain Intensity - Short Form 3a v1.04633768