Background: Psychological factors can increase severity and intensity of headaches. While great attention has been placed on the presence of anxiety and/or depression as a correlate to a high frequency of migraine attacks, very few studies have analyzed the management of frustration in children with headache. Aim of this study was to analyze the possible correlation between pediatric migraine severity (frequency and intensity of attacks) and the psychological profile, with particular attention to the anger management style. Methods: We studied 62 migraineurs (mean age 11.2 ± 2.1 years; 29 M and 33 F). Patients were divided into four groups according to the attack frequency (low, intermediate, high frequency, and chronic migraine). Pain intensity was rated on a 3-levels graduate scale (mild, moderate and severe pain). Psychological profile was assessed by Picture Frustration Study test for anger management and SAFA-A scale for anxiety. Results: We found a relationship between IA/OD index (tendency to inhibit anger expression) and both attack frequency (r = 0.328, p = 0.041) and intensity (r = 0.413, p = 0.010). When we analyzed the relationship between anxiety and the headache features, a negative and significant correlation emerged between separation anxiety (SAFA-A Se) and the frequency of attacks (r = -0.409, p = 0.006). In our patients, the tendency to express and emphasize the presence of the frustrating obstacle (EA/OD index) showed a positive correlation with anxiety level ("Total anxiety" scale: r = 0.345; p = 0.033). Conclusions: Our results suggest that children suffering from severe migraine tend to inhibit their angry feelings. On the contrary, children with low migraine attack frequency express their anger and suffer from separation anxiety.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
- Clinical Neurology