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Pain. 1988 Jul;34(1):43-52.

Psychological functioning of children who have recurrent migraine.

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  • 1Dept. of Psychology, University of West Florida, Pensacola 32514-5751.


Thirty-two children experiencing recurrent migraine, aged 8-17, were compared to 32 non-headache peer controls matched for age, sex, and social class. Each child completed an extensive battery of psychological tests, which consisted of (1) the Children's Depression Inventory (for children aged 8-13) or the Beck Depression Inventory (for children 14 and above), (2) the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (ages 8-12) or the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Form X (ages 13 and above), (3) the Children's Depression Rating Scale, (4) the Personality Inventory for Children, (5) the Child Behavior Checklist, (6) the Psychosomatic Symptom Checklist, SUNYA Revision, (7) the Children's Social Readjustment Rating Questionnaire, (8) the Wide Range Achievement Test for Reading, and (9) the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Form L. Children with migraine revealed higher scores on all scales measuring depression and somatic complaints; adolescent headache sufferers also revealed increased levels of trait anxiety. Older male headache sufferers revealed the poorest overall level of adjustment as reflected by scores on the Adjustment scale of the Personality Inventory for Children. It was argued that the psychological differences were most likely a consequence of the migraineurs having to live with frequent, unpredictable attacks of intense pain. However, the correlational nature of this study does not make it possible to rule out alternative explanations.

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