Headache prevalence and characteristics among school children as assessed by prospective paper diary recordings
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionThe Journal of Headache and Pain. 2012, 13 (2), 129-136. 10.1007/s10194-011-0410-9
In the present school-based study, a convenience sample of 477 students in grades 6–9 and second year in high school from a city and a smaller town recorded daily occurrence and intensity of headaches in a standard paper diary during a 3-week period. Total headache activity (headache sum), number of headache days, intensity level and duration for weekly headaches were estimated. Approximately 85% of the adolescents had experienced headache of any intensity level during the 3-week recording period. On the average, they reported 2.5 headache days per week and a mean intensity level for headache episodes of 1.7. Our estimates for headache of any intensity level (1–5) occurring at least once a week was surprisingly high (73.8%). For the highest intensity level across the whole 3-week period, almost identical proportions of mild and moderate headaches were reported by students (22.3–22.5%), while about twice as many (40.7%) had experienced severe headaches. Girls consistently reported more headaches than boys, in particular of the moderate and severe intensity types. Students in the city also reported more frequent and intense headaches than those in the town. Peak headache activity was observed at noon and in the afternoon and in the days from the middle of the week until weekend. The use of prospective recordings in diaries will further advance our knowledge on the prevalence and characteristics of recurrent headaches among children and adolescents in community samples.