The Journal of Headache and Pain

Official Journal of the "European Headache Federation" and of "Lifting The Burden - The Global Campaign against Headache"

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Volume 16 Supplement 1

1st Joint ANIRCEF-SISC Congress

Open Access

P015. Externalizing behaviours in children with headache and epilepsy: a case-control study

  • Vincenzo Guidetti1Email author,
  • Azzurra Antonelli1,
  • Sonia Donazzan1,
  • Noemi Faedda1,
  • Giulia Natalucci1 and
  • Susanna Simeoni1
The Journal of Headache and Pain201516(Suppl 1):A144

Published: 28 September 2015


MigraineAggressive BehaviourTemporal LobeMiddle SchoolBehavioural Problem


Epilepsy and migraine are chronic neurological disorders with episodic manifestations that are commonly treated in neurological practice and frequently occur together [1]. These two disorders share several pathophysiological mechanisms. These mechanisms especially involve neurotransmitter and ion channel dysfunctions [2]. Children with epilepsy or headache are at risk of behavioural disorders that can affect their quality of life. Aim of this study was to analyze the possible correlation between externalizing problems and migraine or epilepsy in children.


Four hundred children were tested and divided into three groups (mean age: 10.8±1.73). The experimental group was recruited from the Policlinico Umberto I in Rome, while the control group from elementary and middle schools. The first group included 100 migraineurs divided into migraine with aura, migraine without aura, and tension-type headache. The second was composed of 100 children with epilepsy divided into rolandic, absence, grand-mal, and temporal lobe. The last group had 200 children without any disease. Behavioural problems were screened with the Aggression Questionnaire [3], a standardized and validated instrument.


Statistical analysis showed relevant differences between the groups. Children with headache had lower scores in all scales compared to the control sample and the epilepsy group (p < 0.05). Children with epilepsy obtained higher scores in physical aggression (p < 0.05) than children without any disease. Moreover, girls, considering the whole sample, had higher scores (p < 0.05) in the hostility scale, while boys had higher scores in physical aggression.


Results suggest that children with headache tend to inhibit their aggressive behaviours compared to children with epilepsy. On the contrary, children with epilepsy express their anger, hostility, physical and verbal aggression compared to children with headache and without any disease.

Written informed consent to publish was obtained from the patient(s).

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics and Child Neuropsychiatry, University “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy


  1. Papetti L, Nicita F, Parisi P, Spalice A, Villa MP, Kasteleijn-Nolst Trenite DG: Headache and epilepsy: How are they connected?. Epilepsy Behav. 2013, 26 (3): 386-393.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Haut SR, Bigal ME, Lipton RB: Chronic disorders with episodic manifestations: focus on epilepsy and migraine. Lancet Neurol. 2006, 5 (2): 148-157.PubMed CentralView ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Buss AH, Perry M: The aggression questionnaire. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1992, 63 (3): 452-459.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar


© Guidetti et al. 2015

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