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Emotional and behavioural problems in children and adolescents with primary headache

Ulrike Just, Rieke Oelkers, Stephan Bender, Peter Parzer, Friedrich Ebinger**, Matthias Weisbrod*, Franz Resch


Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, *Psychiatric Department, **Department of Neuropediatry, University of Heidelberg, Germany

Abstract
Objective: Psychiatric comorbidity is an important risk factor for chronification of primary headache into adulthood. The aim of this study is to investigate the extent and clinical relevance of emotional and behavioural problems in children and adolescents with primary headache.

Methods: 128 6-18 years aged children and adolescents with primary headache (IHS, codes 1.1, 1.2, 2.1) and 83 matched controls were examined by standardised dimensional psychometrical tests (CBCL, DIKJ, AFS).

Results: Children and adolescents with primary headache suffer more often from internalising problems (depression, anxiety, somatisation) than healthy controls. In comparison with healthy controls in every third child with headache the detected emotional and behavioural problems are clinically relevant and require particular therapy.

Conclusions: 2 / 3 of children and adolescents with primary headache do not show clinically relevant psychopathology and may benefit from minimal therapeutic intervention. 1/3 of examined headache patients needs additional psychiatric therapy.

 

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