Open Access

Anger and emotional distress in patients with migraine and tension–type headache

  • P. Perozzo1,
  • L. Savi2,
  • L. Castelli3,
  • W. Valfrè2,
  • R. Lo Giudice2,
  • S. Gentile2,
  • I. Rainero2Email author and
  • L. Pinessi2
The Journal of Headache and Pain20056:240

DOI: 10.1007/s10194-005-0240-8

Received: 5 August 2005

Accepted: 1 September 2005

Published: 21 September 2005

Abstract

The objective was to evaluate the prevalence and the characteristics of anger and emotional distress in migraine and tension– type headache patients. Two hundred and one headache patients attending the Headache Center of the University of Turin were selected for the study and divided into 5 groups: (1) migraine, (2) episodic tension–type headache, (3) chronic tension–type headache, (4) migraine associated with episodic tension–type headache and (5) migraine associated with chronic tension–type headache. A group of 45 healthy subjects served as controls. All the subjects completed the State–Trait Anger Expression Inventory, the Beck's Depression Inventory and the Cognitive Behavioral Assessment. Anger control was significantly lower in all headache patients (p<0.05) except in migraineurs. Patients with migraine and tension–type headache showed a significantly higher level of angry temperament and angry reaction (p<0.05). In addition, chronic tension–type headache and migraine associated with tension–type headache patients reported a higher level of anxiety (p<0.05), depression (p<0.001), phobias (p<0.001) and obsessive–compulsive symptoms (p<0.01), emotional liability (p<0.001) and psychophysiological disorders (p<0.001). Our study shows that chronic tension–type headache and migraine associated with tension–type headache patients present a significant impairment of anger control and suggests a connection between anger and the duration of headache experience.

Key words

Migraine Tension–type headache Anger Depression