Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name




Faculty Mentor

Benjamin Hill


Chronic pain is running rampant, and its treatment options can sometimes be more dangerous than the pain itself. With such a widespread prevalence – and chronic in the name - numerous individuals are left to deal with daily anguish that fails to abate. This Honors Thesis examines a sample of patients presenting with chronic pain and attempts to validate previous research investigating what factors determine candidacy for a possible treatment, dorsal column spinal stimulator surgery. Research supports that this treatment may have beneficial effects, but patients are sometimes unable to gain respite, despite having a stimulator implanted into their lower back. Archival data MMPI-2-RF data from a sample of 39 patients previously screened for their spinal stimulator surgical candidacy, along with post-surgical pain interference on emotional and physical functioning data obtained by having these patients complete a Google form containing Pain and Spinal Surgery Evaluation Survey (PASSS) and OSWESTRY questionnaires, were statistically analyzed via one-way ANOVA and comparison of means tests, and relationships between pre-surgical and post-surgical data were determined. SCS surgical patients who had better (lower) MMPI-2-RF scores relating to regulatory ability of emotion, anger, self-doubt, and other factors, were more likely to have pain reduction than their worse (higher) scoring counterparts, and higher happiness and lower depression values on the PASSS. In addition, surgical patients regardless of pain management outcome reported having less pain, Hayes 3 overall interference of pain, depression, nervousness, anger, irritableness, and fear, when compared to patients who did not have surgery. Though surgical and non-surgical patients reported similar functional disturbance from their pain. Thus, it seems that for this specific sample, surgical patients feel more positive about their pain and its current management than non-surgical patients yet are not better off than non-surgical patients in terms of daily physical functioning.

Included in

Psychology Commons