A Comparison of MMPI Personality Data and Frontalis Electromyographic Readings in Migraine and Combination Headache Patients




Three headache specialists independently evaluated one hundred and fifty patient headache histories and classified them into separate diagnostic categories. Personality data from selected scales of the MMPI and frontalis electromyographic readings during three stimulus conditions were compared between migraine patients and combination headache patients. Patients were also asked to rate the perceived level of stress elicited by the three conditions (sitting comfortably at rest, performing mental arithmetic, and imagining a severe headache).

Results indicated that raters could reliably classify patients into the migraine or combination headache group, as well as differentiate either of those groups from other headache diagnoses. Subjects in the combination group had higher MMPI scores on scale one (hypochondriasis), scale two (depression), scale three (hysteria), and scale seven (psychasthenia). There was no significant difference in frontalis muscle tension between the two groups although both showed a significant amount of muscular reactivity to the stress induction conditions. Subjects were accurate in their perception of this reactivity. Methodological suggestions were made regarding future phychophysiological research with headache patients.