Survey of Pain Attitudes

Survey of Pain Attitudes [SOPA]
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For: Assess patients' attitudes and beliefs about pain

Reading Level: Adult, Elder Adult

Format: Paper and Pencil

Length: 10-15 Minutes

Scoring: Hand Scored

6141-KT SOPA Introductory Kit - $368.50
Includes SOPA Professional Manual, 25 Rating Forms, 25 Score Summary/Profile Sheets and 25 Pain Worksheets.
Hand Scoring Materials
6140-CF SOPA Pain Worksheets (25) - $60.50
6142-TM SOPA Professional Manual - $126.50
6143-RF SOPA Rating Forms (25) - $154.00
6144-SF SOPA Score Summary/Profile Sheets (25) - $77.00
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Mark P. Jensen, PhD and Paul Karoly, PhD


Research conducted over the past decade indicates that patients' attitudes and beliefs about pain play a key role in their adjustment and treatment outcome. The SOPA was designed to assist clinicians in the understanding of seven key pain-related beliefs of patients who have chronic pain with the assumption that these beliefs reflect and influence patient functioning. It is a self-report instrument on which individuals are asked to indicate their level of agreement with 57 statements using a 5-point Likert scale. This newly standardized version of the SOPA was normed using a sample of 415 patients with chronic pain. The SOPA was designed to assist numerous health care providers working with adults ages 21-80 years.

The SOPA can be used in a variety of testing situations, including pretreatment screening to determine treatment necessity, pretreatment and posttreatment to determine treatment effectiveness, and periodic reevaluations to document treatment progress.

The SOPA consists of seven scales that are divided into two domains -the Adaptive Beliefs Domain and the Maladaptive Beliefs Domain.

Adaptive Beliefs Domain

  • Control Scale -Assesses the extent to which a patient sees himself/herself as having control over his/her pain.
  • Emotion Scale -Assesses the patient's belief that emotions have an impact on pain.

Maladaptive Beliefs Domain

  • Disability Scale -Assesses the extent to which a patient believes that he/she is disabled by pain.
  • Harm Scale -Assesses a patient's beliefs that pain is a signal/sign of physical damage and that in the presence of pain, exercise/activity should be avoided.
  • Medication Scale -Assesses a patient's belief that medications are an appropriate treatment for his/her pain problem.
  • Solicitude Scale -Assesses the extent to which a patient believes that others (e.g., family) should be helpful/solicitous in response to his/her pain (e.g., taking over chores).
  • Medical Cure Scale -Assesses the extent to which a patient believes that a cure will be found for his/her pain and that the primary responsibility for the management of his/her pain rests with the physician.


  • T scores and percentiles are included for calculating scores; a validity scale (i.e. Inconsistency Score) is included to measure inconsistency of responses.
  • Reliable Change scores are included to assist in determining if there are differences between scores obtained on two different testing occasions (e.g. pretreatment vs. posttreatment).
  • Interpretive guidelines and case examples are included.
  • Profile Form includes a skyline for clinically elevated scores and treatment goals.

Reliability and Validity

  • Internal consistency for the seven SOPA scales ranges from .65 to .82 for the standardisation sample.
  • Test-retest stability for the SOPA scales is moderate to good, ranging from .67 to .79 (n = 130).
  • The validity of the SOPA is discussed in terms of evidence based on intercorrelations among the SOPA scales, correlational analyses examining the relationships between the SOPA scores and scores on related measures (i.e. mental health/psychological functioning, physical dysfunction/disability, medical utilisation), and the use of the SOPA as a measure of treatment outcome.




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