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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1999 Oct;187(10):624-9.

Sexual assault history and headache: five general population studies.

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  • 1Institute for Health and Aging, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0646, USA.


Headache is a common and disabling symptom. Although it is known that sexual assault is associated with a wide range of physical symptoms, little research has addressed its association with headache. The present study evaluated this association in five independent samples of randomly selected household residents (pooled N = 7502). The weighted mean odds ratio (OR) linking sexual assault and headache, controlling age and education, was 1.70 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.40, 2.07). Odds ratios were homogeneous across studies, and were similar regardless of participants' gender or ethnicity. Persons sexually assaulted in childhood consistently had greater odds of headache than those first assaulted in adulthood (OR = 1.89, 95% CI = 1.19, 2.99). These results indicate that sexual assault, particularly in childhood, is associated with headache.

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