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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 72:86-92 doi:10.1136/jnnp.72.1.86
  • Paper

Physical and psychological correlates of primary headache in young adulthood: A 26 year longitudinal study

  1. K E Waldie1,
  2. R Poulton2
  1. 1Department of Psychology, University of Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr K E Waldie, Department of Psychology, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand;
 k.waldie{at}auckland.ac.nz
  • Received 2 October 2000
  • Accepted 17 August 2001
  • Revised 9 August 2001

Abstract

Objectives: To determine if physical and/or psychological risk factors could differentiate between subtypes of primary headache (migraine, tension-type headache (TTH), and coexisting migraine and TTH (combined)) among members of a longitudinal birth cohort study.

Methods: At age 26, the headache status of members of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (DMHDS) was determined using International Headache Society criteria. Headache history and potential physical and psychological correlates of headache were assessed. These factors included perinatal problems and injuries sustained to age 26; and behavioural, personality, and psychiatric disorders assessed between ages 5 to 21.

Results: The 1 year prevalences for migraine, TTH, and combined headache at the age of 26 were 7.2%, 11.1%, and 4.3%, respectively. Migraine was related to maternal headache, anxiety symptoms in childhood, anxiety disorders during adolescence and young adulthood, and the stress reactivity personality trait at the age of 18. TTH was significantly associated with neck or back injury in childhood (before the age of 13). Combined headache was related to maternal headache and anxiety disorder at 18 and 21 only among women with a childhood history of headache. Headache status at the age of 26 was unrelated to a history of perinatal complication, neurological disorder, or mild traumatic head injury.

Conclusions: Migraine and TTH seem to be distinct disorders with different developmental characteristics. Combined headache may also have a distinct aetiology.

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