Quality of Life, Coping Strategies, and Family Routines in Children with Headache


Prof. G. Axia, Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, via Venezia 8, 35131 Padova, Italy.


Objective.—To identify the relationship between headache severity, child coping, and quality of life (QoL) in the context of everyday family life.

Background.—In the pediatric headache research only 3 studies have examined children's coping strategies and only 4 studies considered QoL.

Methods.—A sample of 48 Italian families with children seeking treatment for primary headaches was interviewed using an adaptation of the Ecocultural Family Interview (EFI). The EFI is a parent interview that explores the daily routines of family life in which the child and parent participate and the main concerns regarding how that routine is organized.

Results.—As expected the Lisrel analyses consistently showed that QoL is affected by a child's coping abilities in a causal direction. Headache frequency and duration have a significant impact on a child's QoL. The family daily routine influences significantly both the child's coping ability and QoL. Surprisingly enough, children's coping strategies are not related to headache severity.

Conclusions.—More research is needed on the causal factors influencing child's ability to cope with pain, and in particular more attention should be devoted to the contextual and family factors related to pediatric headache.