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Factors Associated With Migraine-Related Quality of Life and Disability in Adolescents: A Preliminary Investigation

Authors

  • Gregg A. Tkachuk PhD,

    1. From the Department of Psychology, Ohio University, Athens (Drs. Tkachuk, Cottrell, and Holroyd and Ms. Gibson) and Headache Treatment and Research and OrthoNeuro, Westerville, Ohio (Dr. O'Donnell).
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  • Constance K. Cottrell PhD,

    1. From the Department of Psychology, Ohio University, Athens (Drs. Tkachuk, Cottrell, and Holroyd and Ms. Gibson) and Headache Treatment and Research and OrthoNeuro, Westerville, Ohio (Dr. O'Donnell).
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  • Jessica S. Gibson MS,

    1. From the Department of Psychology, Ohio University, Athens (Drs. Tkachuk, Cottrell, and Holroyd and Ms. Gibson) and Headache Treatment and Research and OrthoNeuro, Westerville, Ohio (Dr. O'Donnell).
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  • Francis J. O'Donnell DO,

    1. From the Department of Psychology, Ohio University, Athens (Drs. Tkachuk, Cottrell, and Holroyd and Ms. Gibson) and Headache Treatment and Research and OrthoNeuro, Westerville, Ohio (Dr. O'Donnell).
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  • Kenneth A. Holroyd PhD

    1. From the Department of Psychology, Ohio University, Athens (Drs. Tkachuk, Cottrell, and Holroyd and Ms. Gibson) and Headache Treatment and Research and OrthoNeuro, Westerville, Ohio (Dr. O'Donnell).
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Address all correspondence to Dr. Gregg Tkachuk, Headache Treatment and Research, 70 South Cleveland Avenue, Westerville, OH 43081.

Abstract

Objectives.—This study examined factors associated with impaired quality of life and functioning in a sample of treatment-seeking adolescent migraineurs.

Subjects.—The 37 participants were 51.4% female, and averaged 14.3 years of age and 4.1 migraines per month for the previous 36 months.

Procedure.—The Migraine-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire, questionnaire items inquiring about missed activities, and headache diary recordings of missed and impaired activity time served as dependent measures. Variables studied were age; gender; migraine frequency, duration, and severity; presence of nausea, photophobia, or phonophobia; and number of visits to an emergency department in the previous year.

Results.—Three hierarchical forward regressions and one logistic regression, controlling for age and gender, revealed that the presence of nausea and at least one emergency department visit predicted poorer quality of life and a greater number of missed activities in these adolescent migraineurs. The presence of migraine-related missed activity hours from headache diaries was predicted by being male, having higher combined photophobia and phonophobia sensitivity scores, as well as more frequent and severe migraines. Greater impairment was predicted by having longer average duration attacks.

Conclusions.—These preliminary findings suggest that the continued development of effective treatment approaches to alleviate pain, suffering, and disability in adolescent migraineurs is required. In particular, evidence for the impact of nausea and sensitivities suggests that they may be important targets for treatment. As well, adolescent migraineurs with a history of a visit to an emergency department in the previous year likely experience greater individual and family distress, more disability, and poorer quality of life that require thoughtful, comprehensive treatment to prevent the development of more severe headache difficulties.

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