Psychological Assessment in the Context of Head and Facial Pain

  • Leanne R. Cianfrini
  • Daniel M. Doleys


Comprehensive pain assessment and treatment models incorporating a biopsychosocial approach have evolved over decades. Recent guidelines and evidence-based recommendations advocate assessment along multiple dimensions of the pain experience—beyond demographic information or pathophysiological status—to include personality variables, cognitions and beliefs, sociocultural variables, learning, and emotional reactivity. Individual differences in these psychosocial experiences contribute significantly to a patient’s perception of pain and ultimately the effectiveness of treatment. A thorough psychological assessment process is broken down into three areas: (a) the interview, (b) behavioral observations, and (c) standardized testing. The “Why, Where, How, When, and What” of conducting such an assessment is detailed in this chapter. Recommended strategies and validated questionnaires are reviewed. In all cases, chronic pain should be considered as complex, dynamic, and contextually sensitive. Even in the absence of a trained pain psychologist, the patient-oriented health-care provider can obtain valuable information and insight which can help guide the biopsychosocial management of the patient with head and/or facial pain.


Psychological assessment Head pain Facial pain Pain intensity Quality of life Pain assessment Chronic pain Psychological evaluation Health psychology Pain beliefs Biopsychosocial model 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leanne R. Cianfrini
    • 1
  • Daniel M. Doleys
    • 1
  1. 1.The Doleys ClinicBirminghamUSA

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