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Developing a scale to predict failure to return to work for chronic pain patients treated in a multidisciplinary setting: The results of an MMPI item analysis

27 July 1994


The purpose of this study was to determine if a subset of Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) Items can differentiate between regressed and nonregressed chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients treated at a multidisciplinary pain clinic (MPC). Regressed subjects were defined as those who remained unemployed one year following MPC treatment and nonregressed subjects were defined as those who were working at least 30 hours per week. The regressed and nonregressed CLBP subjects (58 males and 34 females) were statistically equivalent in terms of age, education, gender, number o£ surgeries, chronicity of injury, medication usage, and insurance carrier. A chi-square analysis of MMPI/MMPI-2 responses yielded 38 items which distinguished between the two groups at a significance level of R < .05, resulting in a "Regression Scale." These items were then subjected to a principle components analysis which revealed five factors; the factors accounted for 68.6\ of the total variance and reflected clusters with "external locus of control" and "physical ailment" themes. Suggestions to cross-validate the Regression Scale and enhance MPC efforts to focus on the development of an internal locus of control among high scorers on this scale were offered.


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