Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Applied Biopsychology



Major Professor

Greve, Kevin

Second Advisor

Bianchini, Kevin

Third Advisor

Weems, Carl

Fourth Advisor

Martel, Michelle

Fifth Advisor

Soignier, Rodney Denis


Different psychosocial factors influence the experience and adaptation to pain. Previous cluster analytic studies using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2nd edition described psychologically different subgroups of pain patients that had been shown valuable in determining outcome. However, these studies had limited applicability to medico-legal pain populations because they did not use newly developed scales or describe important medico-legal factors that have large effects on symptom endorsement. Using three methods of clustering, the current investigation explored the subgroups that resulted when using all the MMPI-2 and the newly developed MMPI-2-RF (Restructured Form) scales on a large and well-described population of medico-legal spine pain patients. Result demonstrated that the best solution for the current sample was the two-cluster solution when a traditional method was used. However, the best solution was the three-cluster solution when all MMPI-2 scales and a method that used all MMPI-2-RF scales were used. Thus, the three-cluster solution was considered the most adequate solution to differentiate patients in medico-legal settings. Moreover, results demonstrated that subgroup membership was not conditioned to spine related organic factors. Instead, malingering, education, ethnic background and legal status differentiated pain subgroups. Lastly, results demonstrated a dose-response relationship between perceived outcome and subgroup profile elevation. The current results are relevant for understanding the circumstances that can influence spine pain recovery and for informing decisions regarding possible interventions.


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