The problem-oriented psychiatric examination of the chronic pain patient and its application to the litigation consultation

D. A. Fishbain, R. B. Cutler, R. S. Rosomoff, H. L. Rosomoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this paper is (a) to delineate the behavior problems or complaints of chronic pain patients (CPPs) as presented in the literature and to add those behavior problems that have not yet been identified: (b) to present a semistructured psychiatric interview format that would lead to the delineation of these problems; and (c) to present a format and structure for the proposed semistructured psychiatric interview that could be utilized for the purposes of medicolegal assessment of the CPP and the reporting of that assessment to the litigation process. Setting: Any psychiatric/psychological examination of the CPP. Methods: The pain literature was reviewed for any research reports that specifically addressed or delineated the types of behavior problems found within the chronic pain (CP) population. These behavior problems were placed in a semistructured interview format, organized in such a way as to facilitate reporting to the litigation process if necessary. Results: This semistructured psychiatric examination format is presented. Controversial problem areas in this format are discussed with appropriate references. Conclusions: CPPs are seen for the psychiatric examination with a set of behavioral problems largely determined by their medical condition, the consequences of that condition, and the social circumstances surrounding that medical condition (e.g., the litigation process). The psychiatric examination should be tailored to this special set of problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-51
Number of pages24
JournalClinical Journal of Pain
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


  • Chronic pain
  • Consultation
  • Litigation
  • Psychiatric examination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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