Objective. Despite the high prevalence of headaches in youths, quality of life (QOL) has not been well examined. We examined QOL in a clinical sample of children with headaches and compared it with children with other chronic diseases.
Methods. A survey study was conducted of 572 consecutive patients (mean age, 11.4 ± 3.6 years) who presented with headaches to a children’s headache center. Children and parents completed the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, Version 4.0 and a standardized headache assessment. Results were compared with established norms for healthy and chronically ill children.
Results. Most patients (99%) had a clinical diagnosis of migraine: 85% met the International Headache Society migraine criteria, and 40% had chronic daily headaches. Total Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, Version 4.0 score was lower for the entire group (73.1 ± 14.4) compared with healthy norms (83.0 ± 14.8) and lowest for children with chronic daily headaches (70.5 ± 15.5). The impact on QOL of children with migraine was similar to that of children with arthritis and cancer.
Conclusions. QOL of children with headaches is significantly affected by their health condition. The impact of headaches on QOL is similar to that found for other chronic illness conditions, with impairments in school and emotional functioning being the most prominent.
- Received December 4, 2002.
- Accepted February 20, 2003.
- Copyright © 2003 by the American Academy of Pediatrics