The aim of this study was to describe the Quality of Life and pain coping strategies of school children in relation to headache severity. We conducted a cross-sectional study in 2815 children between the age of 9 and 17 years, who filled out Waters' Headache Questionnaire (WHQ), the Paediatric Pain Assessment Tool (PPAT), the Quality of Life Headache in Youth (QLH-Y) questionnaire and the Pain Coping Questionnaire (PCQ) in the class-room setting.
Weekly headaches were reported by 22% of the sample. Low, medium, and high headache severity groups were constructed, based on headache frequency, duration and intensity criteria. Results show that children with the highest headache severity report the lowest Quality of Life in general and the lowest Quality of Health, as well as the most problems with regard to physical functioning, impact of headache on daily and leisure activities, physical symptoms other than headache, and social functioning at home. With regard to using pain coping strategies, children with the most severe headaches seek more social support, they internalize and externalize more, they use less behavioural and cognitive distraction techniques, and seek information less. © 2002 European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.