Fear avoidance belief's questionnaire

The Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ) is a 16-item questionnaire that assesses a person's fear-avoidance beliefs about physical activity and work. It was developed by Gordon Waddell and colleagues in 1993 specifically for use with patients with chronic low back pain, but it has since been adapted for use with other populations, such as people with spinal injuries, musculoskeletal conditions, and chronic pain.[1]

The FABQ is a self-report questionnaire, meaning the person completes it independently. Each item is scored on a 7-point scale, from 0 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree). The total score is calculated by summing the scores for all 16 items. A higher score indicates higher levels of fear-avoidance beliefs.[2]

The FABQ has two subscales:

  • Fear-avoidance beliefs about work: This subscale measures the person's beliefs about how their work may affect their pain.
  • Fear-avoidance beliefs about physical activity: This subscale measures the person's beliefs about how physical activity may affect their pain.[3]

The FABQ is a reliable and valid measure of fear-avoidance beliefs. It has been used in many research studies, and it has been shown to be predictive of pain intensity, disability, and quality of life.

The FABQ can be used in a variety of settings, including:

  • Clinical practice: The FABQ can be used by clinicians to assess patients' fear-avoidance beliefs and to develop treatment plans accordingly.
  • Research: The FABQ can be used in research studies to investigate the relationship between fear-avoidance beliefs and other factors, such as pain, disability, and quality of life.
  • Workplace: The FABQ can be used in the workplace to identify employees who are at risk for developing chronic pain or who may be struggling to manage their pain.

Scoring the FABQ[edit | edit source]

The total score for the FABQ is calculated by summing the scores for all 16 items. A higher score indicates higher levels of fear-avoidance beliefs.

The following table shows the interpretation of FABQ scores:

Score Interpretation
0-48 Low levels of fear-avoidance beliefs
49-64 Moderate levels of fear-avoidance beliefs
65-96 High levels of fear-avoidance beliefs

Clinical implications[edit | edit source]

Fear-avoidance beliefs are a known risk factor for developing chronic pain and disability. Therefore, it is important to identify and address fear-avoidance beliefs in people with pain.[4]

Several treatments can address fear-avoidance beliefs, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, exposure therapy, and graded activity therapy.

If you are concerned that you may have high fear-avoidance beliefs, it is important to talk to your doctor or physical therapist. [5]They can help you to assess your fear-avoidance beliefs and to develop a treatment plan to address them.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Waddell G, Newton M, Henderson I, Somerville D, Main CJ. A Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ) and the role of fear-avoidance beliefs in chronic low back pain and disability. Pain. 1993 Feb 1;52(2):157-68.Available:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8455963/ (accessed 14.10.2023)
  2. Crombez, G., Vlaeyen, J. W., & Lysens, R. (1999). Pain-related fear and avoidance: A review of the literature. Clinical psychology review, 19(7), 1059-1076.
  3. Gatchel, R. J., & Turk, D. C. (2002). Psychosocial factors in chronic pain: Critical review and implications for treatment. Psychological Bulletin, 128(4), 573.
  4. Van Oosterwijck, J., Meeus, M., De Clercq, D., & Nijs, J. (2010). The FABQ: A systematic review on its psychometric properties. Pain, 149(3), 434-444.
  5. Wideman, T. H., Scott, W., Martel, M. O., & Sullivan, M. J. L. (2012). Recovery from chronic pain: A biopsychosocial perspective. Journal of pain, 13(3), S2-S11.