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Minerva Pediatrica 2017 August;69(4):231-8

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.16.04256-0


lingua: Inglese

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

Federica GALLI 1, 2 , Marcella CAPUTI 3, Marcello GALLUCCI 4, Cristiano TERMINE 5, Matteo CHIAPPEDI 2, Umberto BALOTTIN 2, 6

1 Department of Health Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy; 2 Headache Science Center and Department of Child Neurology and Psychiatry, “C. Mondino National Institute of Neurology” Foundation, IRCCS, Pavia, Italy; 3 Faculty of Psychology, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy; 4 Department of Psychology, University of Milano Bicocca, Milan, Italy; 5 Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy; 6 Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy


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.
METHODS: 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, χ2 (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.
CONCLUSIONS: Headache runs in families, with high level of psychological disorders. Mothers are particularly attuned with the psychological needs of their headache children.

KEY WORDS: Headache - Child - Anxiety - Depression

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