Reliability of recalled self-report on headache intensity: investigation using ecological momentary assessment technique

Cephalalgia. 2006 Nov;26(11):1335-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2982.2006.01221.x.


Recalled evaluation of headache intensity is often affected by several factors. Recently, computerized ecological momentary assessment (EMA) has been developed to avoid such problems as recall bias. Here, we compared recalled headache intensity with momentary headache intensity using EMA in tension-type headache (TTH). Forty patients with TTH wore watch-type computers for 1 week to record momentary headache intensity and also rated their headache intensities by recall. We calculated intraclass correlation coefficients between recalled headache intensity and indices from EMA recordings in the whole study population and in two subgroups divided by variability of momentary headache intensity. The results showed that consistency and agreement of momentary and recalled headache intensity were low, and this was especially marked in the subjects whose headache varied widely. These observations suggested that variability of headache intensity may affect recall of headache intensity and this should be taken into consideration in both clinical and research settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computers, Handheld*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Tension-Type Headache / physiopathology*