Get access

Chronic Tension-Type Headache: An Investigation of the Appraisal Process


Jeffrey M. Kearney, M.A., Department of Psychology, Box 7187, University Station, University of North Dakota. Grand Forks, ND 58202



The few existing studies that have explicitly examined appraisal of stress in tension-type headache sufferers have found that these individuals perceive events in a more negative manner than headache-free controls. However, can it necessarily be assumed that they perceive events in a less accurate manner than headache-free controls? To answer this question, sixty chronic tension-type headache sufferers and 60 controls engaged in a 40-trial contingency learning task in which they had to estimate the amount of control they could exert. Results provide little support for the notion that the cognitive appraisal of tension-type headache sufferers is more accurate than that of headache-free individuals. However, differences were found in perceived control when behavioral involvement was considered. This result is discussed in terms of learned helplessness theory.