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Quality of Life in Young Italian Patients With Primary Headache


Address all correspondance to Dr. Pier Antonio Battistella, Department of Pediatrics, University of Padova, Via Giustiniani n 3, 35128 Padova, Italy.


Objective.—To compare the quality of life of young Italian patients with headache with that of the juvenile Italian population free of chronic disease.

Methods.—The Quality of Life Headache in Youth (QLH-Y) Questionnaire developed by Dutch investigators was translated into Italian and validated in a young Italian population. The forward/backward translation and, for psychometric testing, the factor analysis and Cronbach coefficient α were used. A new instrument (Questionnaire for Young Subjects Affected by Primary Headache) was developed to assess psychological, physical, and social functioning and functional status and was used to compare the quality of life of the patients with headache with that of headache-free controls.

For psychometric testing (via the questionnaire), we selected a sample of 394 subjects (178 males and 216 females, aged 10 to 18 years): 320 subjects from three schools of North Italy and 74 patients with headache from the Paediatric Headache Center of Padua. In the latter group, 48 patients had tension-type headache and 26 had migraine without aura, according to the International Headache Society diagnostic criteria.

Results.—The data derived from the comparison of 84 headache-free subjects (control group) and the 74 young patients with headache confirmed that primary headache negatively influenced the latter's quality of life: patients scored significantly (P<.05) lower on psychological, physical, and social functioning than the headache-free controls.

Conclusions.—Quality of life is compromised significantly in young patients with primary headache disorders. The questionnaire used in this study is a valid and reliable self-administered instrument that may facilitate clinical research in headache.