Development of the KnowPain-12 Pain Management Knowledge Survey

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The purpose of this study was to develop a brief knowledge survey about chronic noncancer pain that could be used as a reliable and valid measure of a provider’s pain management knowledge.


This study used a cross-sectional study design. A group of pain experts used a systematic consensus approach to reduce the previously validated KnowPain-50 to 12 questions (2 items per original 6 domains). A purposive sampling of pain specialists and health professionals generated from public lists and pain societies was invited to complete the KnowPain-12 online survey. Between April 4 and September 16, 2012, 846 respondents completed the survey.


Respondents included registered nurses (34%), physicians (23%), advanced practice registered nurses (14%), and other allied health professionals and students. Twenty-six percent of the total sample self-identified as “pain specialist.” Pain specialists selected the most correct response to the knowledge assessment items more often than did those who did not identify as pain specialists, with the exception of 1 item. KnowPain-12 demonstrated adequate internal consistency reliability (α=0.67). Total scores across all 12 items were significantly higher (P<0.0001) among pain specialists compared with respondents who did not self-identify as pain specialists.


The psychometric properties of the KnowPain-12 support its potential as an instrument for measuring provider pain management knowledge. The ability to assess pain management knowledge with a brief measure will be useful for developing future research studies and specific pain management knowledge intervention approaches for health care providers.

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