Send to

Choose Destination
Psychol Health Med. 2017 Feb;22(2):237-243. Epub 2016 Feb 17.

The buffering effect of family functioning on the psychological consequences of headache.

Author information

a Health Psychology Section , University Medical Center Groningen (University of Groningen) , Groningen , The Netherlands.
b Family Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University , Tehran , Iran.
c Faculty of Education and Psychology , Shahid Beheshti University , Tehran , Iran.
d Department of Neurology , Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences , Tehran , Iran.
e Department of Psychology, Health and Technology , University of Twente , Enschede , The Netherlands.


The current study aimed to examine whether high family functioning mitigates the association between headache intensity and distress. The sample consisted of 124 patients with chronic or recurrent headache. Patients completed validated questionnaires about headache intensity, family functioning, and distress. Hierarchical regression analyses were performed to examine the interaction between headache intensity and family functioning on distress. Headache intensity was positively associated with distress (r = .28, p = .002). As hypothesized, family functioning moderated this association (B = -.01, p = .023). More specifically, the positive association between headache intensity and distress was significant only among patients with lower family functioning (B = .01, p < .001) and not among patients with higher levels of family functioning (B = .006, p = .075). Functional families appear to buffer the distress level in patients; they showed relatively low levels of distress regardless of the severity of their headache. In contrast, patients with dysfunctional families who experienced more pain reported more distress, presumably because they did not receive adequate help and support from these families. This study underlines the importance of a broader perspective on family dynamics in coping with pain.


Headache intensity; distress; family functioning; moderating role

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center