Intensive repeated measures data collection procedures, such as ecological momentary assessment (EMA) and end-of-day (EOD) diaries, are becoming more prominent in pain research. Existing data on the feasibility of such methods is encouraging; however, almost nothing is known about feasibility in clinical populations with significant physical disabilities. Research methodology feasibility is crucial to the inclusion of individuals with physical disability in pain research given the high prevalence and impact of pain in these populations. The aim of this study was to examine study compliance, protocol acceptability, and reactivity of intensive data collection methods in adults with chronic pain and spinal cord injury (SCI).
Secondary analysis of data from a 7-day EMA and EOD diary study in a sample of 131 community dwelling adults with SCI.
Results showed rates of missing data ranged from 18.4 to 22.8% across measures. Participant compliance was related to time of day/presence of audible prompts, mobility aid use, race, and baseline levels of pain and pain interference, with more missing data at wake and bedtimes/no prompts, and for those who used hand-held mobility devices, identified as black/African American, and/or reported higher baseline pain and pain interference. Participants rated the study methodology as generally highly acceptable and expressed willingness to participate in similar studies of much longer duration. There was no evidence of reactivity, defined as temporal shifts in pain or pain interference ratings.
Overall, intensive pain data collection is feasible in persons with SCI with no evidence that the methodology impacts pain intensity or pain interference ratings.