A variety of reliable and valid psychosocial assessment instruments have been developed. Many of these instruments are brief and easily incorporated into clinical practice settings. Measures of coping, self-efficacy, helplessness, and cognitive distortion are especially useful in understanding the pain experience in rheumatic disease populations. Information gleaned from psychosocial assessments is increasingly being used to guide pain treatment efforts. Recent research, suggests that treatment outcomes can be improved if one tailors psychosocial pain management protocols to address the particular problems identified by comprehensive psychosocial assessments. Considered overall, psychosocial assessment methods have much to offer the clinician working with patients having persistent pain. The current status of this field is promising, and as psychosocial assessment methods become even more fully integrated into clinical practice, they are likely to yield even greater insights into the pain experience of patients with rheumatic diseases.