The Role of Life Event Stress, Coping and Social Support in Chronic Headaches


Dr. Paul R. Martin, Department of Psychology, University of WesternAustralia, Nedlands, 6009, Western Australia



A group of chronic headache sufferers (migraine and tension-type headache) was compared with twoindividually matched control groups of nonheadache subjects in terms of life event stress, and the stressmoderating factors of coping skills and social support. The headache group did not differ from the controlgroups on the measures of life event stress or coping but significant differences arose on the measure ofsocial support with the headache group achieving lower scores than the control groups. The findings wereinterpreted as suggesting that clinicians and researchers should pay more attention to social aspects ofheadaches, and that interventions aimed at teaching headache sufferers to mobilize social support shouldbe considered as components of treatment packages.