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01.12.2014 | Meeting abstract | Sonderheft 1/2014 Open Access

The Journal of Headache and Pain 1/2014

EHMTI-0180. Behavioural and alexithymic characteristics of adolescents suffering from chronic headache

The Journal of Headache and Pain > Sonderheft 1/2014
E Maffioletti, MM Mensi, E Antonaci, MA Chiappedi, F Ferro, S Molteni, F Galli, F Piazza, U Balottin


many studies have examined the association between paediatric headache and psychopathology; some of them raised the possibility that headache frequency and severity could be worsened by a reduced psychological ability to mentally process emotions and affects.


The first aim of this study was to assess psychopathological comorbidity in adolescents with chronic daily headache (CDH) compared to adolescents with non-chronic headache. The second aim was to investigate the possible role of alexithymia as a negative factor in adolescents with headache.


42 patients aged 11.0-17.11, consecutively seen for headache in our Headache Centre, and their 42 mothers were enrolled. They were assessed using Parent Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL), Youth Self-report (YSR) and Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS). A detailed history was taken to assess the presence of headache, using criteria defined by ICDH-III beta.


21 (50%) of our patients presented a form of CDH; they had at the YSR higher levels of Somatic Complaints (P=0.006), Thought Problems (P=0.003) and ADHD (P=0.049). At the CBCL, their mothers reported higher levels of Somatic Complaints (P=0.045) and lower Total Competences (P=0.012). Alexithymic patients showed more Social Problems (P=0.039), Thought Problems (P=0.010), Attention Deficit (P=0.024) and Affective Problems (P=0.036) compared to non-alexithymic patients.


This study confirmed that CDH are associated with a higher level of impairment and with a heavier psychopathological burden. It is possible that the presence of a significant degree of alexythimia in these patients could be associated to the worsening both of headache and of psychopathological aspects.
No conflict of interest.
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( https://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​4.​0), which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
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