Headache and psychological disorders in children and adolescents: A cross-generational study

Federica Galli, M Caputi, M Gallucci, C Termine, M Chiappedi, U Balottin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Headache and psychopathology (especially anxiety and mood disorders) are comorbid across the life span. The present study is a clinical contribution in the direction of studying the familial recurrence of headache, and the interplay of headache and psychopathology in children. MET HODS: The clinical sample is composed by 130 headache patients (53 boys and 77 girls, age range 8-18), while the control group is composed by 87 healthy subjects from the general population (39 boys and 48 girls, age range 8-18). A structured interview according to International Classification for Headache Disorders-II criteria has been administered to the clinical group; the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Self Administrated Psychiatric Scales for Children and Adolescents (SAFA) have been used in order to assess psychopathology in both groups. RESULTS: The recurrence of headache in family members is confirmed by the present study, albeit limited to paternal side, X2 (4, N.=130)=10.47, P=0.033. Results also showed that scores obtained by the clinical sample in CBCL and SAFA are generally higher than scores obtained by the control group, but without differences between headache sub-types. Finally, internalizing symptoms (anxiety and depression) in children correlate with mothers' point of view, r≥0.23, P <0.05, outlining a specific attunement between headache patients and their mothers. C ONCLUSIONS: Headache runs in families, with high level of psychological disorders. Mothers are particularly attuned with the psychological needs of their headache children. © 2017 Edizioni Minerva Medica.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-238
Number of pages8
JournalMinerva Pediatrica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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