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Headaches, Quality of Life, and Academic Performance in Schoolchildren and Adolescents


  • Pedro A.S. Rocha-Filho MD, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
    2. Universidade de Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
    • Address all correspondence to Pedro A. Sampaio Rocha Filho, Rua General Joaquim Inacio, 830, Sala 1412, Edf The Plaza Business Center, Recife, Pernambuco CEP: 50070-270, Brazil, email:

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  • Patricia V. Santos MD

    1. Universidade de Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
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  • Conflict of Interest: None.



Just a few studies to date have focused on headaches, quality of life, and academic performance in children.


Determine the effect of headaches on the life of schoolchildren and the association between headaches and academic performance.


We conducted a cross-sectional study. One hundred and ninety-five students from an elementary school were randomly selected out of 355 students aged from 10 to 15 years old. Semi-structured interview, the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory Version 4.0, the Children's Depression Inventory, and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory were used. The variables relating to academic performance were obtained by consulting the academic records.


Prevalence of headaches: headache: 97.3% (179/184); migraine: 51% (94/184); tension-type headache: 33% (61/184); primary stabbing headache: 7.6% (14/184); unclassified headaches: 5.4% (10/184). Migraine (relative risk: 3.11; 95% confidence interval: 1.54-6.30) and more severe headaches (relative risk: 7.93; 95% confidence interval: 2.65-23.7) were associated with lower quality of life (P < .01; multivariate logistic regression). More severe headaches were associated with lower grades in school (P < .01; multiple linear regression). Variables relating to headaches were not associated with “failing the school year” (P > .05; chi-square test and Fisher's exact test).


Headaches were found to be associated with lower quality of life and poor academic performance.