State and trait anger and its expression in cluster headache compared with migraine: a cross-sectional study

Marialuisa Rausa, Sabina Cevoli, Giulia Giannini, Valentina Favoni, Sara Anastasia Contin, Corrado Zenesini, Donatella Ballardini, Pietro Cortelli, Giulia Pierangeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Anger is involved in the emotional experience of pain. Individuals with migraine are more likely to hold their anger-in than controls. However, only one study evaluated anger in cluster headache (CH). The objective is to compare anger between migraine and CH patients. Methods: One hundred thirty-five migraine and 108 CH patients completed the State Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI-2), composed of 7 subscales. State Anger measures the intensity of the individual’s angry feelings at the time of testing. Trait Anger evaluates general predisposition to become angry. Anger Expression Out and Anger Expression In measure the extent to which anger could be overtly expressed or suppressed. Anger Control Out and Anger Control In evaluate how individual try to control the outward or inward expression of anger. Anger Expression Index is a general index. Results: CH patients have higher median scores than migraine patients in State Anger (46 vs 44, p = 0.012). CH patients have lower scores in Anger Control Out (44 vs 50, p = 0.016). In subgroup analysis, CH patients during the cluster period have higher scores than chronic migraine patients in State Anger (47 vs 44, p = 0.035), while CH patients in headache-free period did not differ from migraine patients. Conclusions: Migraine and CH patients differ in state anger, indicating that CH patients experienced higher intensity of anger during the time of testing. These data add new information about emotional regulation in headache patients and could support the hypothesis of different emotional and behavioral responses to pain in migraine and CH patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2365-2370
Number of pages6
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Chronic headache
  • Emotional regulation
  • Pain
  • STAXI-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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