Prediction of Treatment-Seeking Behavior in Acute TMD Patients: Practical Application in Clinical Settings

Jake Epker, Robert J. Gatchel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Aims: To determine potential differences in predictive models of acute temporomandibular disorder (TMD) patients divided into groups based on the physiologic characteristics of their TMD. Methods: One hundred seventy-seven acute TMD patients were evaluated with an extensive battery that included biologic and psychosocial measures. Subjects were separated into 3 groups based on a physical exam using the Research Diagnostic Criteria for TMD (RDC): those with a myofascial pain diagnosis, those with either a disc displacement or other joint condition, and those who reported pain but did not receive an RDC Axis I diagnosis. Six months later, it was determined whether patients had sought additional treatment for relief of their symptoms. Treatment-seeking and non-treatment-seeking groups were compared for significant differences, and predictive models were generated to determine the array of variables that best predicted treatment-seeking behavior among each of the 3 classifications of TMD patients used in this study. Results: Among patients with a diagnosis of myofascial pain, gender, Multidimensional Pain Inventory (MPI) interference score, and MPI affective distress score accurately predicted treatment-seeking behavior in 76.1% of the sample. For patients with a diagnosis of disc displacement, arthralgia, arthritis, or arthrosis, the following variables predicted treatment utilization behavior in 93.6% of the sample: race, RDC graded chronic pain, and the introversion scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2. For patients with no RDC Axis I disorder, 80.5% of the sample was accurately classified with regard to treatment-seeking behavior through the use of only the characteristic pain intensity score (ie, mean of visual analog scale scores for " pain right now," " worst pain," and " average pain" ). Conclusion: The factors that predict which acute TMD patients are most likely to seek additional treatment vary depending on the physiologic basis of their TMD. This suggests that acute TMD patients may benefit from different modalities of treatment, depending on the type of TMD with which they present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-309
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Orofacial Pain
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Health behavior
  • Myofascial pain syndromes
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders


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