Comparison of Concurrent and Retrospective Pain Ratings during Rehabilitation Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 Springfield College
  • | 2 University of Connecticut Health Center
  • | 3 New England Orthopedic Surgeons
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The accuracy of retrospective ratings of pain intensity was examined in a sample of 72 men and 36 women undergoing rehabilitation following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructive surgery. Participants completed daily ratings of current, worst, and average pain intensity for the first 42 days of rehabilitation. Participants provided retrospective ratings of worst and average pain intensity twice for a 7-day period (on Days 7 and 21) and once for a 30-day period (on Day 30). Correlations between concurrent and retrospective pain ranged from .74 to .88. Retrospective pain ratings consistently overestimated concurrent pain ratings, but were generally not biased by current pain. The results suggest that retrospective pain ratings can substitute for concurrent pain ratings if the tendency toward overestimation is taken into account.

Center for Performance Enhancement and Applied Research, Dept. of Psychology, Springfield College, Springfield, MA 01109

Dept. of Community Medicine and Health Care, Univ. of Connecticut School of Medicine, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington, CT 06030-6325

New England Orthopedic Surgeons, 300 Birnie Ave., Springfield, MA 01107.