Pain Disability Index (PDI)

Helps evaluate the impact of chronic pain on an individual’s life activities.

Refer to the text below the calculator for more information on the index and its usage.


The Pain Disability Index (PDI) is a 7-item self-report instrument that helps measure the impact pain has on a person’s life activities. It may be used for initial evaluations and for monitoring effectiveness of pain relief and other interventions.


The 7 measures used to assess pain disability (each rated from 0 to 10, where 0 means no disability and 10 means total disability) include:

  • Family and home responsibilities;
  • Recreation;
  • Social activity;
  • Occupation;
  • Sexual behavior;
  • Self care;
  • Life-support activity.

PDI results range from 0 to 70 where the higher the score, the greater the degree of disability and impact on life activities due to pain.


Instruction: For each of the following aspects, please select the point on the scale that you feel is most appropriate in describing you on a scale from None (0) to Total (10).

1

Family and home responsibilities

Activities related to home and family
NoneTotal
2

Family and home responsibilities

Hobbies sports and other leisure time activities
NoneTotal
3

Social activity

Participation with friends and acquaintances other than family members
NoneTotal
4

Occupation

Activities partly or directly related to working including housework or volunteering
NoneTotal
5

Sexual behavior

Frequency and quality of sex life
NoneTotal
6

Self care

Personal maintenance and independent daily living (bathing dressing etc.)
NoneTotal
7

Life-support activity

Basic life-supporting behaviors (eating sleeping breathing etc.)
NoneTotal
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Steps on how to print your input & results:

1. Fill in the calculator/tool with your values and/or your answer choices and press Calculate.

2. Then you can click on the Print button to open a PDF in a separate window with the inputs and results. You can further save the PDF or print it.

Please note that once you have closed the PDF you need to click on the Calculate button before you try opening it again, otherwise the input and/or results may not appear in the pdf.


 

Pain Disability Index Explained

Originally developed at St Louis University Medical Center, the Pain Disability Index (PDI) is a 7-item self-report instrument that helps measure the impact chronic pain has on a person’s life activities.

The measures used to assess pain disability include:

  • Family and home responsibilities: activities related to home and family;
  • Recreation: hobbies sports and other leisure time activities;
  • Social activity: participation with friends and acquaintances other than family members;
  • Occupation: activities partly or directly related to working including housework or volunteering;
  • Sexual behavior: frequency and quality of sex life;
  • Self care: personal maintenance and independent daily living (bathing dressing etc.);
  • Life-support activity: basic life-supporting behaviors (eating sleeping breathing etc.).

Each of the 7 items is rated on a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 means no disability and 10 means total disability.

PDI results range from 0 to 70 where the higher the score, the greater the degree of disability and impact on life activities due to pain.

The PDI is used for initial evaluations and for monitoring pain relief effectiveness and response to other interventions.

In the 1990 study by Tait et al. into the psychometric properties of the PDI it was found that patients with high PDI scores reported:

  • more psychological distress (P less than 0.001);
  • more severe pain characteristics (P less than 0.001);
  • more restriction of activities (P less than 0.001).

compared to patients with low PDI scores.

The PDI was found to be a reliable and valid brief measure of pain-related disability.

 

References

Pollard CA. Preliminary validity study of the pain disability index. Percept Mot Skills. 1984; 59(3):974.

Tait RC, Pollard CA, Margolis RB, Duckro PN, Krause SJ. The Pain Disability Index: psychometric and validity data. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1987; 68(7):438-41.

Tait RC, Chibnall JT, Krause S. The Pain Disability Index: psychometric properties. Pain. 1990; 40(2):171-182.

Chibnall JT Tait RC. The Pain Disability Index: Factor Structure and Normative Data. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1994; 75: 1082-1086.


Specialty: Pain Management

Objective: Evaluation

No. Of Criteria: 7

Year Of Study: 1990

Abbreviation: PDI

Article By: Denise Nedea

Published On: February 9, 2021 · 12:00 AM

Last Checked: February 9, 2021

Next Review: February 9, 2026