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J Headache Pain. 2012 Jul;13(5):395-400. doi: 10.1007/s10194-012-0441-x. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Migraine and behavior in children: influence of maternal headache frequency.

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  • 1Glia Institute, Av. Braz Olaia Acosta, 727, s. 310, CEP14026040, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.


We took advantage of a large population study in order to measure child behavior, as captured by the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) as a function of headache status in the children and their mothers. Of the target sample, consents and analyzable data were obtained from 1,856 families (85.4 %). Headache diagnoses were defined according to the second edition of the International Classification of Headache Disorders, and behavioral and emotional symptoms were assessed by the validated Brazilian version of the CBCL. We calculated the relative risk of abnormalities in the CBCL domains as a function of headache status in the children, after adjusting by a series of main effect models. Children with migraine were more likely to present abnormal scores in several of the CBCL scales, relative to children without migraine, and maternal migraine status contributed little to the model. However, when the mother had daily headaches, both children with and without migraine had similar CBCL scores. In multivariate analyses, migraine status in the children predicted CBCL scores (p < 0.01). Headache status and headache frequency in the mother did not predict CBCL scores in children with migraine but predicted in children without migraine (p < 0.01). The burden of migraine to the family is complex. Children with migraine are more likely to have behavioral and emotional symptoms than children without migraine. Children without migraine may be affected, in turn, by frequent headaches experienced by their mothers.

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