Effects of a Mass Media Behavioral Treatment for Chronic Headache: A Pilot Study


Dr. A.T. de Bruijn-Kofman, Department of Medical Psychology, University Hospital, Oostersingel 59, 9713 EZ Groningen, The Netherlands.


This article presents the results of a pilot study evaluating the efficacy of a mass media self-help behavioral treatment program for chronic headache.

The program consisted of a self-help textbook, an exercise book, 10 television programs, 11 radio programs, and 3 audiocassettes with relaxation training. Approximately 15000 headache sufferers purchased the book and relaxation tapes. A random sample of 271 respondents participated in the effect study; the pretraining and posttraining data of 164 subjects were available for analysis.

Multivariate testing of the pretraining and posttraining results showed highly significant reductions in headache activity and medication intake at 4-month follow-up. A reduction of 50% or more in headache parameters and medication intake was achieved by 40% to 60% of the patients. Work absenteeism was significantly reduced. The differences between the diagnostic groups were not significant. Mass media behavioral treatment seems to be a viable treatment alternative for chronic headache and highly promising in terms of gain in quality of life, decrease in economic loss, and cost-effectiveness in health care.