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Headache Prevalence in Adolescents Aged 12 to 17: A Student-Based Epidemiological Study in Bursa


  • Necdet Karlı MD,

  • Nalan Akış MD,

  • Mehmet Zarifoğlu MD,

  • Semra Akgöz PhD,

  • Emel İrgil MD,

  • Utku Ayvacıoğlu MD,

  • Nermin Çalışır MD,

  • Nazan Haran MD,

  • Özlem Akdoğan MD

  • From the Department of Neurology, (Drs. Karlı, Zarifoğlu, Ayvacıoğlu, Çalışır, Haran, and Akdoğan); Department of Public Health, (Drs. Akış and İrgil); and Department of Biostatistics, School of Medicine, University of Uludag, Bursa, Turkey (Dr. Akgöz).

Address all correspondence to Dr. Necdet Karlı, Department of Neurology, University of Uludag, School of Medicine, 16059 Gorukle/Bursa, Turkey.


Background and Objectives.—The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence and sociodemographic characteristics of headaches among Turkish adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old in Bursa province of Turkey.

Methods.—A multistep, stratified, cluster sampling method was used for subject selection. The estimated sample size for 12- to 14-year-old students was 1270 and for 15- to 17-year-old students was 1117. Our study sample included 6.5% of the secondary schools and 1.8% of the students aged 12 to 17 years old. The study was conducted in two phases; the questionnaire phase and the face-to-face interview phase.

Results.—The prevalence of recurrent headache in the study population was 52.2%. Girls (59.8%) had significantly more recurrent headache than boys (45.1%) The prevalence of recurrent headache increased from 42.2% up to 60.7% by age. In multivariate logistic regression analysis age and gender differed significantly between adolescents with and without recurrent headache groups. Frequent episodic tension-type headache was the most common (25.9%) headache among Turkish adolescents, followed by migraine (14.5%).

Conclusions.—Age and gender appeared to be demographic factors increasing adolescent headache prevalence. Frequent episodic-tension type headache was the most common headache followed by migraine. Our migraine prevalence was slightly higher than most of the previously reported prevalence rates. This might be due to the new classification criteria of headache released by International Headache Society.