Pain Catastrophizing Scale (child version and parent version)

Author of Tool: 

Crombez, Bijttebier, Eccleston, Mascagni, Mertens, Goubert and Verstraeten

Key references: 

Crombez, G., Bijttebier, P., Eccleston, C., Mascagni, T., Mertens, G., Goubert, L. and Verstraeten, K., (2003). The child version of the pain catastrophizing scale (PCS-C): a preliminary validation. Pain, 104 (3), pp. 639-646.

Goubert, L., Eccleston, C., Vervoort, T., Jordan, A. and Crombez, G., (2006). Parental catastrophizing about their child’s pain. The parent version of the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS-P): A preliminary validation. Pain, 123 (3), pp. 254-263.

Primary use / Purpose: 

These short likert-type questionnaires assess catastrophising about pain in children and their parents. It looks at issues such as rumination, magnification and feelings of helplessness.


Catastrophising about pain has been shown to influence adjustment to pain. Previously, the only measures for this construct were brief subscales of larger measures. The Pain Catastrophizing Scales developed from the measure used in Sullivan (1995) involves 13 items dedicated to overly negative attitudes towards the pain. The impact of pain catastrophizing may range from increasing subjective pain intensity to predicting the child’s school attendance and parental depression.


Reliability and validity of the child version is discussed in Crombez, Bijttebier, Eccleston, Mascagni, Mertens, Goubert and Verstraeten (2003) and of the parent version in Goubert, Eccleston, Vervoort, Jordan, and Crombez (2006).



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