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Reliability and Validity of an Interactive Computer Method for Rating Quality of Life


  • Gilbert J. Fanciullo MD, MS,

    1. Department of Anesthesiology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire;
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  • Robert N. Jamison PhD,

    1. Departments of Anesthesia and Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts;
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  • Marek C. Chawarski PhD,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Yale University Medical School, New Haven, Connecticut and Psychological Applications, Waterbury, Vermont; and
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  • John C. Baird PhD

    1. Psychological Applications, Waterbury, Vermont, Department of Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire, and Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
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Gilbert J. Fanciullo, MD, MS, Pain Management Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756. Tel: (603) 650-6040; Fax: (603) 650-8199; E-mail:


objective. The purpose of this study was to describe the reliability and validity of an interac- tive computer method that assesses the quality of life of patients in chronic pain and healthy individuals.

methods. A software program to assess 21 aspects of quality of life was administered to 88 pain patients on two occasions separated by an average of 30 days. Comparison data were obtained from 105 healthy individuals retested after an average of 16 days.

results. For both groups, moderate test-retest correlations occurred for mean ratings based on an aggregation of data for all variables, single global ratings, and single ratings of individual variables. Patients in chronic pain scored significantly lower on all quality of life variables than did healthy individuals. High correlations were obtained between mean ratings from the present study and those from an earlier investigation using the same method.

conclusions. The interactive computer method is both reliable and valid as a means to assess quality of life for patients in chronic pain as well as for healthy individuals.