Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Kevin S. Masters


Kevin S. Masters


Chronic back pain is a serious problem in the U.S. for which about 10% of back pain sufferers will undergo elective surgery. Unfortunately, back surgery is not successful in alleviating back pain in a substantial number of surgery patients. Various psychological and psychosocial variables have a demonstrated relationship to back surgery outcome. The most widely used personality test used to predict back surgery outcome is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPJ). Past research has shown that elevations on three MMPI clinical scales (Hs, D, and Hy) are positively correlated with poor back surgery outcome. The current prospective study shows a similar pattern using the MMPI-2 to predict surgery outcome for 60 low back pain patients. It appears that past MMPI research in this area is applicable to the use of MMPI-2. These results also suggest that when MMPI-2 variables are combined with demographic and surgical variables, patients more likely to experience poor surgical outcome can be identified. There is evidence that elevations of the conversion V profile of the MMPI-2 may prospectively differentiate between successful and nonsuccessful surgery outcomes.