This study was undertaken to assess the relationship between locus of control, medication overuse, end length of hospitalization for patients admitted for inpatient treatment of chronic headache with drug rebound. Thirty patients admitted for treatment using repetitive IV DHE were administered the Health Attribution Test (HAT). Two-thirds of these patients had profile score representative of good health attitudes associated with favorable rehabilitation outcomes. There was a trend in the direction of predicting shorter lengths of hospital stay for those patients with “good” profiles, although the correlation did not reach statistical significance. The statistical relationship (r = .25; P = .09) found between the HAT's “Powerful Others” scale and preadmission levels of medication use was consistent with previously published control theory findings regarding high external locus of control in drug and alcohol abusers.
The findings of this study suggest that analgesic/ergot abusing chronic headache patients may differ from street drug abusers. This may account, in part, for the high levels of success for these patients at two year follow-up after hospital discharge.