The Relationship of Locus of Control and PsychosociaI-Behavioral Response in Chronic Headache

Authors

  • Lisa Scharff Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. From the University of Pittsburgh (Pa) Pain Evaluation and Treatment Institute.
      Dr. Lisa Scharff, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pain Evaluation and Treatment Institute, 4601 Baum Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
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  • Dennis C. Turk Ph.D.,

    1. From the University of Pittsburgh (Pa) Pain Evaluation and Treatment Institute.
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  • Dawn A. Marcus M.D.

    1. From the University of Pittsburgh (Pa) Pain Evaluation and Treatment Institute.
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Dr. Lisa Scharff, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pain Evaluation and Treatment Institute, 4601 Baum Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Abstract

It has been suggested that patients' perceptions of the impact chronic headache has on their lives as well as perceived control of their headaches may be associated with the intensity, duration, and exacerbation of pain they experience. The present study examined associations among International Headache Society (IHS) diagnostic category, pain characteristics such as severity and duration, perceived impact and control of headaches, and adaptive response. Two hundred twenty-five patients with migraine, tension-type, or combined migraine and tension-type headache served as subjects. General activity level was related to IHS diagnosis, with migraine headache patients reporting that they are more active than tension-type headache patients (F(2, 196) = 5.69, P < .01). Headache locus of control was not significantly related to IHS diagnosis, however external headache locus of control was significantly related to headache intensity (r = .32, P < .001, r = .25, P < .001), as well as to patients' perceptions of the extent to which pain interfered with various domains of their lives (r = .33, P < .001, r = .28, P < .001), and adaptive response (F(6, 402) = 4.68, P < .001). It appeared that perceived control over headaches and perceived impact of headaches were not related to IHS diagnostic category and were not strongly related to each other, but were related to headache severity.

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