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The BPI is a brief, simple, and easy to use tool for the assessment of pain in both clinical and research settings. The BPI uses simple numeric rating scales from 0 to10 that are easy to understand and easy to translate into other languages. On the BPI, mild pain is defined as a worst pain score of 1 - 4, moderate pain is defined as a worst pain score of 5 - 6, and severe pain is defined as a worst pain score of 7 - 10.

The BPI has been used extensively around the world to measure the severity and interference of pain in patients with cancer. It has also been used effectively in patients with pain from other causes, such as AIDS-related pain and pain due to sickle cell disease.

How to Obtain Copies

Detailed Description
Validated Foreign Language Versions
Current Validation Studies
Future Validation Studies
Selected Publications


Detailed Description of the BPI

Purpose: To assess the severity of pain and the impact of pain on daily functions

Population: Patients with cancer pain and pain due to other chronic diseases

Assessment Areas: Severity of pain, impact of pain on daily function, location of pain, pain medications, and amount of pain relief in the past 24 hours or the past week

Responsiveness: Responds to both behavioral and pharmacological pain interventions


Method: Self-report, interview, or via an Interactive Voice Response System (IVR)

Time required: 5 minutes (short form), 10 minutes (long form)

Scoring: No scoring algorithm, but "worst pain" or the arithmetic mean of the 4 severity items can be used as measures of pain severity and the arithmetic mean of the 7 interference items can be used a as a measure of pain interference

Reliability: Cronbach alpha reliability ranges from .77 to .91

Validation: The BPI has been validated in at least 7 different languages by examining the consistency of its two factor structure (factors: severity of pain and impact of pain).

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Validated Foreign Language Versions

Wang XS, Mendoza TR, Gao SZ, Cleeland CS. The Chinese version of the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI-C): Its development and use in a study of cancer pain, Pain 1996;67:407-416.

Filipino (formerly Tagalog)

Larue F, Colleau SM, Brasseur L, Cleeland CS. Multicentre study of cancer pain and its treatment in France. British Medical Journal 1995;310:1034-1037.

Radbruch L, Loick G, Kiencke P, Lindena G, Sabatowski R, Grond S, Lehmann K, Cleeland CS. Validation of the German Version of the Brief Pain Inventory. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 1999; 18:180-187.


Saxena A, Mendoza T, Cleeland CS. The Assessment of Cancer Pain in North India: The Validation of the Hindi Brief Pain Inventory, the BPI-H. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 1999;17:27-41.

Caraceni A, Mendoza TR, Mencaglia E, Baratella C, Edwards K, Forjaz MJ, Martini C,
Serlin RC, de Conno F, Cleeland CS. A validation study of an Italian version of the Brief Pain Inventory (Breve Questionario per la Valutazione del Dolore). Pain 1996;65:87-92.

Uki J, Mendoza T, Cleeland CS, Nakamura Y, Takeda F. A Brief Cancer Pain Assessment Tool in Japanese: The Utility of the Japanese Brief Pain Inventory B BPI-J. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 1998;16:364-373.



Cleeland CS, Ladinsky JL, Serlin RC, Nugyen CT. Multidimensional measurement of cancer pain: Comparisons of US and Vietnamese patients Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 1988;3:23-27.

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Current Validation Studies

We are currently working with researchers from other countries in validating these foreign language versions of the BPI.


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Future Validation Studies

The BPI has already been translated in the languages listed below. We would like to collaborate with investigators from other countries in validating these versions. We would also like to work with you if you are interested in validating a language version other than those listed here.


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Selected Publications

Cleeland CS. Measurement of pain by subjective report. In: Chapman CR, Loeser JD, editors. Advances in Pain Research and Therapy, Volume 12: Issues in Pain Measurement. New York: Raven Press; 1989. p. 391-403.
Cleeland CS, Nakamura Y, Mendoza TR, Edwards KR, Douglas J, Serlin RC. Dimensions of the impact of cancer pain in a four country sample: New information from multidimensional scaling. Pain 1996;67:267-273.
Serlin RC, Mendoza TR, Nakamura Y, Edwards KR, Cleeland CS. When is cancer pain mild moderate or severe? Grading pain severity by its interference with function. Pain 1995;61:277-284.

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