Robert N. Jamison, PhD

Dr. Jamison is a Professor at Harvard Medical School with appointments in the Departments of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Psychiatry, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is a clinical psychologist assigned primarily to the Pain Management Center. His past research has focused on the examination of predictors of opioid abuse in chronic pain patients.

He has been involved in interventional controlled trials to assess and manage those at risk for prescription opioid misuse. He has been principal investigator on several NIH-funded projects and has been on the Editorial Boards of five scientific journals. He has authored two books and over 300 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and abstracts in the areas of behavioral medicine and chronic pain. He has held board positions in many regional, national, and international organizations such as the American Pain Society and the International Association for the Study of Pain. He has been past president of the New England Pain Association and have served on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the American Pain Society.

Research Focus

1. Psychological predictors of chronic pain. My early published work was broadly addressed in the field of pain. The underlying theme of my research has been the identification of psychological factors and profiles that impact pain and pain treatment. My most recent research has focused on psychological factors in opioid use in pain patients. I published a series of critical studies investigating the effects of opioids on neuropsychological functioning, cognition and memory in pain patients. I have investigated psychological factors that predict opioid abuse in chronic pain and have developed a score to predict opioid abuse in pain patients. My research on the effects of long-term opioid therapy in chronic pain has been very influential in the raging controversy regarding whether opioids are appropriate treatment for chronic pain.  They are highly cited and have advanced the field of pain medicine and medical practice.

a. Jamison RN, Brown GK. Validation of hourly pain intensity profiles with chronic pain patients. Pain. 1991; 45:123-

b. Kerns RD, Rosenberg R, Jamison RN, Caudill MA, Haythornwaite J. Readiness to adopt a self-management approach to chronic pain:  the pain stages of change questionnaire.  1997; 72: 227-34.

c. Martel MO, Dolman AJ, Edwards RR, Jamison RN, Wasan AD. The association between negative affect and prescription opioid misuse in patients with chronic pain: the mediating role of opioid craving. J Pain 2014;15:90-100.

d. Jamison RN, Scanlan E, Matthews ML, Jurcik DC, Ross EL. Attitudes of primary care practitioners in managing chronic pain patients prescribed opioids for pain: a prospective longitudinal controlled trial. Pain Med 2016;17:99-113.

2. Risk assessment for misuse of opioids. Perhaps my most important work has been accomplished with the creation and validation of tools designed to assess risk of opioid misuse among chronic pain patients prescribed opioids for pain. The first validated tool, Screener and Opioid Assessment for Pain Patients (SOAPP), has been used by thousands of clinicians to determine whether patients need close monitoring because of risk for misuse while prescribed opioids for pain. This is a 24-item self-report questionnaire. The SOAPP was revised (SOAPP-R) to incorporate subtle items and I was also involved in creating and validating the Current Opioid Misuse Measure (COMM), which is a 17-item questionnaire designed to assess risk of current prescription opioid misuse.

a. Butler SF, Budman SH, Fernandez K, Jamison RN. Validation of a screener and opioid assessment measure for patients with chronic pain. 2004; 112:65-75.

b. Butler SF, Budman SH, Fernandez KC, Houle B, Benoit C, Katz N, Jamison RN. Development and validation of the Current Opioid Misuse Measure. 2007; 130:144-156.

c. Butler SF, Budman SH, Fernandez K, Benoit C, Jamison RN. Validation of the revised Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain (SOAPP-R). J Pain. 2008;9:360-372.

d. Jamison RN, Martel MO, Edwards RR, Qian, J, Sheehan, KA, Ross, EL. Validation of a brief opioid compliance checklist for patients with chronic pain. J Pain 2014;15:1092-1101.

3. Role of innovative technology in the assessment and treatment of pain. Another area of interest has been with innovative technology in assessing and managing chronic pain. I was involved in the first longitudinal validation study of the use of electronic diaries for pain assessment. We helped to validate the electronic visual analogue scale (eVAS) using standard psychophysical techniques for evaluating the psychometric properties of self-reported sensory and verbal ratings. I was also involved in studies with chronic back pain patients who were asked to monitor their pain every day for one year with a handheld computer and results were compared with matched patients who used paper diaries. Those using electronic diaries showed remarkable compliance (89.9%) with daily monitoring throughout the year, (100% for 7 days each month compared with 55.9% for the paper diaries) attributable in part to the 2-way messaging that the patients received every time they entered diary data. The use of eDiaries has now become standard practice in most clinical trials.

a. Jamison RN, Raymond SA, Levine J, Slawsby EA, Nedeljkovic SS, Katz NP. Electronic diaries for monitoring chronic pain: 1-year validation study. Pain. 2001; 91:277-285.

b. Jamison RN, Gracely RH, Raymond SA, Levine JG, Marino B, Hermann TJ, Daly M, Fram D, Katz NP. Comparative study of electronic vs. paper VAS ratings: a randomized, crossover trial utilizing healthy volunteers.  2002; 99:341-347.

c. Jamison RN, Mei A, Ross EL. Longitudinal trial of a smartphone pain app for chronic pain patients: Predictors of compliance and satisfaction. J Telemed Telecare, OnlineFirst, published on November 9, 2016 as doi:10.1177/1357633X16679049.

d. Jamison RN, Jurcik D, Edwards RR, Chuan-Chin H, Ross EL. A pilot comparison of a smartphone app with or without 2-way messaging among chronic pain patients: Who benefits from a pain app? Clin J Pain 2017;33:676-686.

Research Team

Robert Jamison, PhD

Robert Jamison, PhD

Principal Investigator

Limeng Wan, BS

Limeng Wan, BS

Research Assistant