Initial Validation of the Expectancies for Benzodiazepine Analgesia Scale

Emma C. Lape, Jessica M. Powers, Lisa R. LaRowe, Joseph W. Ditre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chronic pain populations exhibit greater prevalence of benzodiazepine (BZD) prescription (vs. the general population) and greater likelihood of BZD use not as prescribed and dependence symptoms. Individuals report taking BZDs for pain relief, potentially contributing to maintenance/escalation of BZD use and hazardous couse with prescription opioids. Identifying cognitive factors underlying pain-BZD use relations represents a critical step toward understanding the role of pain in BZD use trajectories. Outcome expectancies for substance-related analgesia have been implicated in pain-substance use comorbidity (e.g., alcohol), and there is reason to believe these processes may extend to BZD use. The present study aimed to examine psychometric properties of a newly adapted Expectancies for Benzodiazepine Analgesia (EBA) scale and probe associations between EBA scores and prescription opioid use behaviors. Participants were 306 adults (38.9% females) endorsing chronic pain and current BZD prescription who completed an online survey. Results provided initial support for psychometric validity of the EBA: evidence of single-factor structure with good model fit (Bollen–Stine bootstrap p =.101), excellent internal consistency (α =.93), and evidence of concurrent validity via correlations with pain variables, likelihood of BZD use not as prescribed, BZD dependence symptoms, and self-reported BZD use for pain relief. Exploratory findings among participants prescribed opioids indicated positive covariation between EBA scores and behaviors associated with higher risk opioid use. This is, to our knowledge, the first study to assess analgesia expectancies for BZD use. BZD analgesic expectancies warrant further study as a treatment target in comorbid pain and BZD use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • benzodiazepines
  • chronic pain
  • outcome expectancies
  • pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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