Document Type


Publication Date



School of Public Health




Objectives Little is known about patterns and correlates of Complementary Health Approaches (CHAs) in chronic pain populations, particularly in rural, underserved communities. This article details the development and implementation of a new survey instrument designed to address this gap, the Complementary Health Approaches for Pain Survey (CHAPS). Design Following pilot-testing using pre-specified criteria to assess quality and comprehension in our target population, and after feedback regarding face-validity from content experts and stakeholders, the final cross-sectional self-report survey required 10–12 minutes to complete. It contained 69 demographic, lifestyle and health-related factors, and utilized a Transtheoretical Model (TTM) underpinning to assess short- and long-term use of 12 CHAs for pain management. Twenty additional items on pain severity, feelings, clinical outcomes, and activities were assessed using the Short-Form Global Pain Scale (SF-GPS); Internal reliability was assessed using Cronbach’s alpha. Settings/location Investigators conducted consecutive sampling in four West Virginia pain management and rheumatology practices. Participants 301 Appalachian adult patients seeking conventional care for pain management. Results Response rates were high (88% ± 4.1%). High quality and comprehension deemed the CHAPS an appropriate measurement tool in a rural population with pain. Missing data were unrelated to patient characteristics. Participants predominantly experienced chronic pain (93%), had five or more health conditions (56%, Mean = 5.4±3.1), were white (92%), female (57%), and middle-aged (Mean = 55.6 (SD = 13.6) years). Over 40% were disabled (43%) and/or obese (44%, Mean BMI = 33.4±31.5). Additionally, 44% used opioids, 31% used other prescription medications, and 66% used at least one CHA for pain, with 48% using CHAs for greater than 6 months. There was high internal reliability of the SF-GPS (alpha = .93) and satisfactory internal reliability for each of the five TTM stages across (all) twelve CHAs: precontemplation (0.89), contemplation (0.72), preparation (0.75), action (0.70), and maintenance (0.70). Conclusions The CHAPS is the first comprehensive measurement tool to assess CHA use specifically for pain management. Ease of administration in a population with pain support further use in population- and clinic-based studies in similar populations.

Source Citation

Feinberg T, Jones DL, Lilly C, Umer A, Innes K. The Complementary Health Approaches for Pain Survey (CHAPS): Validity testing and characteristics of a rural population with pain. Sirois FM, ed. PLOS ONE. 2018;13(5):e0196390. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0196390