Background.— Few studies in adolescents deal with the level of agreement between questionnaire and interview information in relation to headache symptoms.
Objective.— To evaluate the validity of a self-administered questionnaire on headache for use in epidemiological studies of Italian high school students.
Methods.— The questionnaire incorporated all items required for diagnosing migraine according to the criteria from the 2004 International Classification of Headache Disorders. The migraine diagnoses obtained from questionnaires were validated against the gold standard diagnoses by a headache specialist.
Results.— Out of 104 students answering the questionnaires, 93 (89.4%) participated in extensive semi-structured interviews by a neurologist. The chance-corrected agreement rate (kappa) was 0.66, which is considered good. The questionnaire-based migraine diagnosis had a sensitivity of 67.3%, specificity of 100%, positive predictive value of 100%, and negative predictive value of 73.3%.
Conclusions.— The results indicate that our self-administered questionnaire may be an acceptable instrument in determining the prevalence of migraine sufferers in the northeast Italy adolescent population, useful in identifying subjects with “definite” migraine.