Psychosocial Functioning in Schoolchildren With Recurrent Headaches


Dr. Jane Carlsson, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Neurology Section, Sahlgrenska Hospital, University of Göteborg, S-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden.


The psychosocial functioning of 113 schoolchildren (8 to 15 years old) reporting headaches at least once a month was compared to a group of headache-free control subjects matched for sex and age. Thirteen percent of the headache sufferers had migraine headaches, 28% had episodic tension-type headaches, 30% had chronic tension-type headaches, and 29% had migraine coexisting with tension-type headaches.

Overall, the headache sufferers experienced more somatic complaints, stress, and psychological symptoms, in addition to being absent from school (due to illness), more often and reported fewer caring persons as compared to headache-free controls. Although few differences between the four headache groups emerged in the children's psychosocial functioning levels, children with migraine coexisting with tension-type headaches had significantly more frequent somatic complaints than those having episodic tension-type headaches. In addition, children with migraine or migraine coexisting with tension-type headaches were more often absent from school than those having tension-type headaches only. A significant but weak relationship between children's headache severity and their somatic complaints was noted.