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The Headache Self-Efficacy Scale: Adaptation to Recurrent Headaches



SYNOPSISThis paper describes the development, construct and discriminant validity, and incremental utility of a headache self-efficacy scale. The Headache Self-Efficacy Scale is a 51 item scale designed specifically for recurrent headache sufferers. It assesses individuals' belief that they are able to do the things necessary to prevent a moderately painful headache when confronted with personally relevant headache precipitants. High self-efficacy was associated with less depression, anxiety, and physical symptoms, and less use of passive coping strategies (P<.01), even when headache frequency, intensity and chronicity were controlled statistically. Self-efficacy also explained unique variance in psychological and somatic symptoms beyond that explained by locus of control and general self-efficacy. These findings suggest that adaptation to headaches is influenced by self-efficacy beliefs, and that the assessment of self-efficacy may provide useful information in the evaluation of recurrent headache sufferers.