Relationships between physical findings (GPE-78) and psychological profiles (MMPI-2) in patients with long-lasting musculoskeletal pain

Nord J Psychiatry. 2001;55(3):177-84. doi: 10.1080/08039480152036056.


The purpose of the study was to evaluate possible relationships between physical findings, as measured with the Global Physiotherapeutic Examination (GPE-78), and psychological characteristics, as measured with the revised Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2), in three groups of patients with long-lasting musculoskeletal pain. A total of 177 patients (114 women, 63 men), sick-listed owing to long-lasting musculoskeletal pain, were studied. The sample was subcategorized on the basis of pain localization, as marked on a pain drawing: group 1 = pain above a horizontal line in the thoracic-lumbar region (n = 24); group 2 = pain below the line (n = 48); group 3 = pain both above and below the line (n = 105). The GPE-78 consists of 78 standardized tests yielding quantitative information within five bodily domains: Posture, Movement, Muscle, Skin, and Respiration. Significant correlations were obtained between the GPE-78 and the MMPI-2 with regard to somatization, somatic concern, and depression. Patients with localized pain (groups 1 and 2) had few correlations between bodily findings and psychological problems compared with many inpatients with generalized pain (group 3). Women showed correlations between the domains Posture, Movement, and Muscle and psychological problems, whereas men showed correlations with Movement, Skin and Respiration. A psychosomatic MMPI-2 "V-profile" was present in groups 1 and 3. Women showed significantly higher scores than men. The relationships found between GPE-78 and MMPI-2 measures were significant, but findings differed depending on pain localization and sex. Patients with generalized pain had significantly more physical and psychological aberrations than patients with more localized pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MMPI / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / psychology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain / rehabilitation
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Sick Leave
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*
  • Somatoform Disorders / rehabilitation