A usability and feasibility study of a computerized version of the Bath Adolescent Pain Questionnaire: the BAPQ-C.

Jordan, Abbie; Begen, Fiona M.; Austin, Lisa; Edwards, Rhiannon T. and Connell, Hannah (2020). A usability and feasibility study of a computerized version of the Bath Adolescent Pain Questionnaire: the BAPQ-C. BMC Pediatrics, 20(6)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-019-1899-3


Pain is a common experience in adolescence, with up to 44% of adolescents reporting chronic pain. For a significant minority, severe pain becomes an ongoing disabling problem. Treatment of adolescent chronic pain aims to reduce the impact of pain on adolescents’ lives. Efficient, accurate assessment of the impact of pain is essential to treatment. The ‘Bath Adolescent Pain Questionnaire’ (BAPQ) is a psychometrically robust multidimensional self-report measure of adolescent functioning. Whilst widely used, the paper-based format of the BAPQ can present completion difficulties for adolescents experiencing chronic pain. To increase the accessibility and clinical utility of the BAPQ, an electronic version of the measure is needed. This study assesses the usability and feasibility of a computerized version of this measure (BAPQ-C) in an adolescent chronic pain population.

Fourteen adolescents (13 females; 13–16 years) were recruited from a hospital-based residential pain management programme. Participants completed a qualitative ‘thinking aloud task’ whilst completing the BAPQ-C. and, an acceptability questionnaire regarding the BAPQ-C. Data were analysed using thematic analysis, a widely used qualitative method of data analysis.

Two themes labelled ‘engagement and technological appeal’ and ‘accessibility and independence’ were generated. Themes revealed numerous factors contributing to participants’ preference for the BAPQ-C compared with the paper version of the BAPQ. Participants reported that the BAPQ-C was ‘quicker’ and ‘easier’ to complete than the BAPQ. Functional aspects of the BAPQ-C which included use of a touch screen rather than a pen and paper, font colours/styles, the zoom function and the spellchecker, provided participants with improved access. This subsequently increased participants’ independence and confidence when completing the measure.

The BAPQ-C is a feasible multidimensional tool for the assessment of functioning in adolescents who experience chronic pain. It was well-received by participants who were able to complete the measure more quickly, independently and confidently than the paper-based BAPQ. Increased speed, ease and accuracy of completion make the BAPQ-C an ideal tool for use in busy clinical and research settings. Findings highlight the potential benefits of adopting the BAPQ-C when assessing the impact of chronic pain on adolescents in clinic and home-based settings.

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