Feasibility and acceptability to use a smartphone-based manikin for daily longitudinal self-reporting of chronic pain

Syed Mustafa Ali, David Selby, Darryl Bourke, Ramiro Bravo, Alessandro Chiarotto, Jill Firth, Ben James, Ben Parker, William Dixon, Sabine van der Veer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: As management of chronic pain continues to be suboptimal, there is a need for tools that support frequent, longitudinal pain self-reporting to improve our understanding of pain. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of daily pain self-reporting for one month using a smartphone-based pain manikin.
Methods: For this prospective feasibility study, we recruited adults with lived experience of painful musculoskeletal condition. They were asked to complete daily pain self-reports via an app for 30 days. We assessed feasibility by calculating pain report completion levels. We fitted a multivariate binomial regression model to investigate differences in completion levels between subgroups. We assessed acceptability via an online end-of-study questionnaire, which we analysed descriptively.
Results: Of the 104 participants, the majority were female (n=87; 84%), aged 45-64 (n= 59; 57%), of white ethnic background (n=89; 86%), and living with only one painful musculoskeletal condition (n=87; 84%). The mean completion levels across all participants was 21 (± 7.7) pain self-reports. People who were not working (odds ratio (OR)=1.84; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.52-2.23) were more likely, and people living in less deprived areas (OR=0.77; 95%CI, 0.62-0.97) and of non-white ethnicity (OR=0.45; 95%CI, 0.36-0.57) were less likely to complete pain self-reports than their employed, more deprived and white counterparts, respectively.
Of the 96 participants completing the end-of-study questionnaire, almost all participants agreed that it was easy to complete a pain drawing (n=89; 93%) and that the app helped them to report their pain (n=86; 90%).
Conclusion: People living with musculoskeletal pain conditions found it feasible and acceptable to daily self-report their pain using a smartphone-based manikin over a month. For its wider adoption for pain self-reporting, the feasibility and acceptability should be further explored among people with diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDigital Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Jul 2023


  • Chronic pain
  • pain measurement
  • mobile applications
  • engagement
  • feasibility and acceptability


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