Psychotherapy versus usual care in pediatric migraine and tension-type headache: A single-blind controlled pilot study

Umberto Balottin, Matteo Ferri, Michela Racca, Maura Rossi, Giorgio Rossi, Ettore Beghi, Matteo Chiappedi, Cristiano Termine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Despite growing interest in psychotherapy in child and adolescent headache, efficacy studies in this research field have focused mainly on cognitive-behavioral therapies. Whereas relaxation and cognitive-behavioral techniques, in particular, have been found to reduce the intensity and frequency of headache in children and adolescents, data on psychodynamic psychotherapy in this population are lacking.Our aim was to explore the effectiveness of a brief psychodynamic psychotherapy program in the treatment of idiopathic headache in childhood and adolescence. Methods. Thirty-three newly diagnosed idiopathic headache sufferers aged 6-18 years, consecutively referred to our outpatient services, were randomized to receive either a brief cycle of psychodynamic psychotherapy (eight sessions administered at two-week intervals) or usual care (clinical interview, neurological examination, counselling, symptomatic therapy).The two groups were evaluated at baseline (T0) and at six months (T1) to be assessed for headache characteristics (i.e. frequency, intensity and duration), quality of life (i.e. the EuroQoL score), patient's global health status (i.e. the Clinical Global Impression score), and emotional-behavioral symptoms (i.e. Child Behavior Checklist scores). Results: The two groups were fairly similar with reference to the main demographic and clinical variables. The T0/T1 comparison showed a statistically significant improvement in headache frequency (p = 0.005), intensity (p <0.001) and duration (p = 0.002), a statistically significant improvement in the CGI score (p = 0.018), and a borderline improvement in the EuroQoL score (p = 0.053) in the group receiving psychotherapy. Conclusions: According to our pilot findings, a brief psychodynamic psychotherapy program may be more effective than usual care in children and adolescents with idiopathic headache.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalItalian Journal of Pediatrics
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 10 2014

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Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
Tension-Type Headache
Migraine Disorders
Psychotherapy
Headache
Brief Psychotherapy
Pediatrics
Behavioral Symptoms
Neurologic Examination
Child Behavior
Cognitive Therapy
Ambulatory Care
Child Care
Group Psychotherapy
Checklist
Health Status
Counseling
Quality of Life
Demography
Interviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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Psychotherapy versus usual care in pediatric migraine and tension-type headache : A single-blind controlled pilot study. / Balottin, Umberto; Ferri, Matteo; Racca, Michela; Rossi, Maura; Rossi, Giorgio; Beghi, Ettore; Chiappedi, Matteo; Termine, Cristiano.

In: Italian Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 40, No. 1, 6, 10.01.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Rossi, Giorgio

AU - Beghi, Ettore

AU - Chiappedi, Matteo

AU - Termine, Cristiano

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