MMPI Profiles of Headache Patients Using Self-regulation to Control Headache Activity


  • Dolores Soto Werder M.A.,

  • Joseph D. Sargent M.D.,

  • Lolafaye Coyne Ph.D.



The MMPI was administered to 51 persons with headache complaints (tension, migraine, or both) at their initial visit to the Menninger Foundation Headache Treatment Center. Three months after self-regulation training was concluded each S was rated as to their ability to use the non-drug technique to control headaches effectively. Success was determined by reduction of headache activity by 51% or more. There were 32 Successful Ss and 19 Unsuccessful Ss. Characteristics of both groups were very similar except for age, with the Unsuccessful group having significantly older Ss. Further investigation also indicated that number of headache days per month was significantly more for Unsuccessful Ss.

A multivariate analysis, with age as covariate, was done to compare differences between the 12 MMPI clinical scale means. Peak scores were found on Scales 1 (HS) and 3 (HY) for the Unsuccessful Ss with lower scores on Scale 2 (D) indicating the typical “Conversion V” profile. Peak score for the Successful Ss was on Scale 2 (D), and they scored significantly higher than the Unsuccessful Ss on Scale 0 (SI). Similar findings were observed for females only in both groups.

It was suggested that Successful Ss had increased depression with less somatization than Unsuccessful Ss and were, therefore, more acutely aware of their internal discomfort. This resulted in increased motivation to seek change, and willingness to give up medication. Another indicator of their internal focus was the higher scores on introversion which may contribute to success in using self-regulation techniques.