The experience of cognitive intrusion of pain: scale development and validation

Nina Attridge, Geert Crombez, Dimitri Van Ryckeghem, Edmund Keogh, Christopher Eccleston

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Patients with chronic pain often report their cognition to be impaired by pain, and this observation has been supported by numerous studies measuring the effects of pain on cognitive task performance. Furthermore, cognitive intrusion by pain has been identified as one of three components of pain anxiety, alongside general distress and fear of pain. While cognitive intrusion is a critical characteristic of pain, no specific measure exists designed to captures its effects. In three studies we describe the initial development and validation of a new measure of pain interruption: the Experience of Cognitive Intrusion of Pain (ECIP) scale. In Study 1, the ECIP scale was administered to a general population sample to assess its structure and construct validity. In Study 2, the factor structure of the ECIP scale was confirmed in a large general population sample experiencing no pain, acute pain, or chronic pain. In Study 3 we examined the predictive value of the ECIP scale in pain related disability in fibromyalgia patients. ECIP scale scores followed a normal distribution with good variance in a general population sample. The scale had high internal reliability and a clear one component structure. It differentiated between chronic pain and control groups, and it was a significant predictor of pain related disability over and above pain intensity and pain catastrophizing. Repairing attentional interruption from pain may become a novel target for pain management interventions, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1978-1990
Number of pages13
Issue number10
Early online date9 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2015


  • Attentional disruption
  • Cognitive instrusion
  • Anxiety
  • Rumination


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