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Predisposing and Provoking Factors in Childhood Headache


Address all correspondence to Dr. Pirjo Anttila, Kuralankatu 1, 20540 Turku, Finland.


Objective.–To study the differences in predisposing and provoking factors between childhood migraine and nonmigrainous headache.

Background.–Information on the predisposing and provoking factors of headache could help to find ways to prevent it. Differences in predisposing and provoking factors between migraine and nonmigrainous headache are largely unknown.

Methods.–An unselected, population-based, prospective, follow-up study on the occurrence of headache in schoolchildren was carried out in 1290 children aged from 8 to 9 years. The children who had reported headache during the 6 months prior to the study ( n=725) were sent a more detailed questionnaire about factors that might give rise to headache. Six hundred twenty-two (86%) children returned questionnaires that were completed to an acceptable degree.

Results.–The occurrence of familial paroxysmal headache and unhappiness in the family independently predicted the occurrence of migraine in children, but this was not the case for nonmigrainous headache.

Conclusions.–In particular, the family occurrence of paroxysmal headache increases the risk of migraine in a child. The risk is still greater if their living conditions are experienced as unsatisfactory by the family.