Behavioral Assessment and Treatment of Child Migraine: Implications for Clinical Research and Practice




Behavioral assessment and treatment strategies for adult migraine have gained wide acceptance during the past decade. However, very little research exists on the use of behavioral methods for child migraine. The present paper reviews clinical research and practice in the behavioral assessment and treatment of child migraine. Based on the available medical literature, it appears thatchild migraine closely parallels adult migraine, excepting for some neurological signs, a higher proportion of affected males, and the greater prominence of gastrointestinal upset characterizing the former. Assessment methods that have proven useful with adult migraineurs, including interview data and headache diaries, have yet to be validated with a child population. Several behavioral and social validation measures are proposed as additional assessment strategies for child migraine. Although recent studies evaluating the use of relaxation, biofeedback, and other behavioral approaches for child migraine have been encouraging, methodological shortcomings in these studies make the drawing of firm conclusions premature. It is concluded that child migraine presents a very promising research domain in light of recent successes in therapeutic trials with children and the background of successful behavioral interventions established with adults.