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Associations Between Headache (Migraine and Tension-Type Headache) and Psychological Symptoms (Depression and Anxiety) in Pediatrics: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Pain Physician. 2023 Oct;26(6):E617-E626.


BACKGROUND: There have been no recent meta-analysis studies on specific psychological symptoms (depression and anxiety) according to the type of primary headache disorder in children and adolescents.

OBJECTIVES: We performed a meta-analysis of various psychodiagnostic scales. Psychological symptoms of primary headache disorders have been reported in previous studies.

STUDY DESIGN: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

METHODS: We conducted systematic reviews using the PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Scopus databases up to October 19, 2022. Ten studies were selected by applying the inclusion criteria. The psychological symptoms (depression and anxiety) of children and adolescents with migraine and tension-type headache (TTH) were compared with those of healthy controls using scale scores. All statistical analyses of the pooled data were performed using RevMan 5.3 software.

RESULTS: Psychodiagnostic tools to assess depression scored higher in patients with migraine than in healthy controls; however, most anxiety-related scores were not significantly different between the migraine and control groups. In contrast, anxiety-related scores were higher in patients with TTH than in healthy controls, but the score to measure the degree of depressive symptoms was not significantly different from the control group in patients with TTH.

LIMITATIONS: A limited number of studies for each scale were included. In addition, each scale has different sensitivities and specificities, which may have affected the results. In addition, we did not evaluate the differences in psychological symptoms according to the frequency and severity of headaches.

CONCLUSIONS: Depression is more associated with migraine; whereas, anxiety is more associated with TTH than healthy controls. Therefore, the screening and assessment of psychological symptoms should be performed in children and adolescents with primary headache disorders.


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