The pain disability questionnaire: Relationship to one-year functional and psychosocial rehabilitation outcomes

Robert J. Gatchel, Tom G. Mayer, Brian R. Theodore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Objective: The Pain Disability Questionnaire (PDQ) is a new functional assessment instrument designed for evaluating chronic disabling musculoskeletal disorders. It is useful for assessing function/disability as affected by pain. This is the first study to assess the predictive validity of the PDQ in its relationship to 1-year post-treatment work- and health-related outcomes in a chronic disabling occupational musculoskeletal disorder (CDOMD) population. Design: A prospective cohort of CDOMD patients (n=150) completed a prescribed functional restoration rehabilitation program, with PDQ and other psychosocial measures evaluated before and immediately after treatment. A structured telephonic interview for objective work- and health-related outcomes took place 1-year following treatment. Results: Lower rates of work retention were associated with more severe pre-treatment PDQ scores. Higher post-treatment PDQ were associated with decreased return-to-work rates, decreased work retention and a greater percentage seeking health care from a new provider. In addition, PDQ scores were also associated with psychosocial measures such as depression and perceived pain intensity, as well as alternative measures of disability. Conclusions: Results demonstrated the ability of this simple and psychometrically-sound disability rating scale for systematic functional assessment in predicting treatment outcomes in patients with CDOMD. Results support the further use of the PDQ as a standard treatment outcomes measure in this area of musculoskeletal disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-94
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Depression
  • Functional assessment
  • Functional restoration
  • Occupational injury
  • Outcome measures
  • Pain disability questionnaire
  • Rating scale
  • Workers' compensation


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