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ABSTRACT

THE CLINICAL literature describes the migraine patient as someone who reacts to many life situations with aggression, but who is, nevertheless, unable to express his anger directly and satisfactorily. The typical migraine patient is described as overcontrolled in his behaviour and as having personality traits which lead others to regard him as a “nice” and “agreeable” person. In order to determine whether these relationships do in fact exist, 88 patients with various diagnoses of headache were compared against 27 controls who had no history of headache, with regard to personality traits and expression of anger. In addition, the 33 cases of migraine were contrasted with the 41 cases of tension headache and each of these groups to the 27 controls. The questionnaire used asked for information on social background data, headaches occurring in parents and chronic diseases that the patient presently had. Included in the questionnaire was an adjective check list and a series of attitudinal and behavioural scale items relating to anger. Also, there were questions about the expression of anger by the patient's parents and by the patient during his or her childhood, and about present reactions to the control of anger, love and anxiety. The findings of this study support the clinical literature and at the same time add a new dimension: that is, in addition to the unique patterns that distinguished the headache groups from the controls, we found clearly defined personality pattern differences between the migraine and tension headache sufferers.