The Relationship of Electromyographic and Vasomotor Activity to MMPI Subgroups in Chronic Headache Patients: The Use of the Original and Contemporary MMPI Norms


  • This project was supported by BRSG S07 RR 05 369 awarded by the Biomedical Research Support Program, Division of Research, National Institute of Health.



The relationship of electromyographic (EMG) and temporal artery vasomotor activity to MMPI subgroups was examined in 60 chronic headache sufferers. Analysis of the right frontalis data revealed a significant interaction between MMPI sub-group and position (reclining, sitting, standing) with a trend toward the same interaction with the left frontalis. However, this effect was only found when the contemporary MMPI norms were utilized in the formation of the subgroups. No effects were found for the bilateral trapezius EMG or bilateral temporal artery sites. Analysis of the self report data revealed a significant main effect for the Total Pain Score of the Pain Mannequin but not for a current headache intensity rating. Again, the former effect was seen most clearly when the contemporary MMPI norms were used. In general, these data support a Psychological Distress Hypothesis in that patients with significant elevations (>70) demonstrated greater frontalis EMG activity and higher Pain Mannequin scores. Additionally, the data demonstrate the importance of utilizing the contemporary MMPI norms in the formation of subgroups.