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Infant Clinical Pain Assessment: Core Behavioral Cues

Journal title
The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society
Publication year
DiLorenzo, M. G.; Pillai Riddell, R.; Flora, D. B.; Craig, K. D.

Diverse behavioral cues have been proposed to be useful cues in infant pain assessment, but there is a paucity of evidence on the basis of formal psychometric evaluation to establish their validity for this purpose. We aimed to examine 2 widely used coding systems, the Neonatal Facial Coding System (NFCS) and the Modified Behavior Pain Scale (MBPS), by examining their factor structures with confirmatory factor analysis using a large archival data set. The results indicated that an item-reduced NFCS scale with 3 items produced a 1-factor pain model that maintained the good psychometric properties of the 7-item scale. In addition, it was found that MBPS also has challenging internal consistency, with items that are weakly correlated as well as highly redundant. One item of the MBPS may be able to capture the construct of pain equally well or potentially improve its psychometric properties. Redefinition of the MBPS with cry as a sole indicator was suggested. This analysis provides 2 new iterations of the NFCS and MBPS that improve construct validity and internal consistency. These shorter versions also improve the feasibility of both measures and increase their potential for clinical use because less time is required for their administration. PERSPECTIVE: This article presents new iterations of the NFCS and MBPS scales. These revised measures improve the internal consistency of the measures, feasibility of use of the tools in research settings, and the efficiency of the coding process. The revised tools could also improve the feasibility of coding within clinical settings.

Research abstracts