Investigating intraindividual pain variability: methods, applications, issues, and directions

Chung Jung Mun, Hye Won Suk, Mary C. Davis, Paul Karoly, Patrick Finan, Howard Tennen, Mark P. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Pain is a dynamic experience subject to substantial individual differences. Intensive longitudinal designs best capture the dynamical ebb and flow of the pain experience across time and settings. Thanks to the development of innovative and efficient data collection technologies, conducting an intensive longitudinal pain study has become increasingly feasible. However, the majority of longitudinal studies have tended to examine average level of pain as a predictor or as an outcome, while conceptualizing intraindividual pain variation as noise, error, or a nuisance factor. Such an approach may miss the opportunity to understand how fluctuations in pain over time are associated with pain processing, coping, other indices of adjustment, and treatment response. The present review introduces the 4 most frequently used intraindividual variability indices: the intraindividual SD/variance, autocorrelation, the mean square of successive difference, and probability of acute change. In addition, we discuss recent development in dynamic structural equation modeling in a nontechnical manner. We also consider some notable methodological issues, present a real-world example of intraindividual variability analysis, and offer suggestions for future research. Finally, we provide statistical software syntax for calculating the aforementioned intraindividual pain variability indices so that researchers can easily apply them in their research. We believe that investigating intraindividual variability of pain will provide a new perspective for understanding the complex mechanisms underlying pain coping and adjustment, as well as for enhancing efforts in precision pain medicine. Audio accompanying this abstract is available online as supplemental digital content at http://links.lww.com/PAIN/A817.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2415-2429
Number of pages15
JournalPain
Volume160
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

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Pain
Social Adjustment
Longitudinal Studies
Direction compound
Precision Medicine
Individuality
Noise
Software
Research Personnel
Technology
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

Cite this

Investigating intraindividual pain variability : methods, applications, issues, and directions. / Mun, Chung Jung; Suk, Hye Won; Davis, Mary C.; Karoly, Paul; Finan, Patrick; Tennen, Howard; Jensen, Mark P.

In: Pain, Vol. 160, No. 11, 01.11.2019, p. 2415-2429.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mun, Chung Jung ; Suk, Hye Won ; Davis, Mary C. ; Karoly, Paul ; Finan, Patrick ; Tennen, Howard ; Jensen, Mark P. / Investigating intraindividual pain variability : methods, applications, issues, and directions. In: Pain. 2019 ; Vol. 160, No. 11. pp. 2415-2429.
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