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Keywords:

  • chronic headache;
  • psychopathology;
  • MMPI-2;
  • cluster analysis

SYNOPSIS

We investigated the utility of the newly revised version of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, the MMPI-2, for assessing psychopathology in three diagnostic headache groups, Post Traumatic, Status Migrainosus, and Status Migrainosus with Analgesic Rebound. We also investigated whether distinct clusters of headache sufferers could be identified using the MMPI-2 clinical scales, and whether these clusters coincide with headache diagnosis. Eighty-one patients in treatment at the Houston Headache Clinic were diagnosed and administered the MMPI-2. Significant levels of psychopathology were found in all three diagnostic groups. Furthermore, Cluster Analysis identified three clusters of patients with equal proportions of patients from the three diagnostic groups. Cluster I patients were abnormally high on many MMPI-2 clinical scales; Cluster 2 patients showed more moderate elevations, and Cluster 3 patients had essentially normal profiles. We concluded that the MMPI-2 offers additional information not available through medical diagnosis alone. Thus, it is crucial to include psychological assessment in any comprehensive evaluation of chronic headache patients. Further implications for treatment planning and effectiveness are discussed.