Prevalence and characteristics of headache in Dutch schoolchildren

Eur J Pain. 2001;5(2):145-53. doi: 10.1053/eujp.2001.0234.


The aim of this study was to determine whether there has been an increase in headache prevalence in Dutch children and to compare headache characteristics of children with low, medium and high headache severity.A sample of 2358 schoolchildren between the ages of 10 and 17 years filled out Waters' Headache Questionnaire and the Paediatric Pain Assessment Tool. Results showed that 21% of the boys and 26% of the girls at elementary school, and 14% of the boys and 28% of the girls at high school reported weekly headaches. When compared to figures from a previous study in the Netherlands published in 1985, the prevalence of weekly headaches in 10-17-year-olds has increased by 6%. In boys at elementary school, the prevalence of headaches with a frequency of a few times a week has doubled. Children with low, medium and high headache severity differed with respect to all headache characteristics, i.e. pain quality, accompanying symptoms, warning signals, location, onset, impact of headache, family occurrence, perceived cause, medical consultation, and school absence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Headache / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prevalence
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data