Neuropsychological functioning and MMPI-2 profiles in chronic neck pain: a comparison of whiplash and non-traumatic groups

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2005 Feb;27(2):151-63. doi: 10.1080/13803390490515487.


We measured the neuropsychological functioning in 42 patients with chronic neck pain, 21 with a whiplash trauma and 21 without previous trauma. Subjectively, the whiplash group was more forgetful and had more concentration difficulties compared with the non-traumatic group. The neuropsychological tests did not reveal any differences between the two groups and a reference group of healthy individuals. Thus, chronic neck pain did not seem to interfere with neuropsychological functioning. The personality traits assessed with MMPI-2 in our 42 patients with chronic neck pain differed significantly from the normals on several scales. We also found that the whiplash group had more divergent test results than the non-traumatic group on the MMPI-2 test. Thus, it seems that the health status in those with chronic neck pain is closely linked to separate personality traits. It is concluded that the subjective complaints and poor performance in patients with chronic neck pain may be associated to somatization and inadequate coping, especially in chronic whiplash patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MMPI / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / physiopathology
  • Neck Pain / psychology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Whiplash Injuries / physiopathology
  • Whiplash Injuries / psychology*