Prevalence and impact of headache in undergraduate students in Southern Brazil

Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2010 Dec;68(6):873-7. doi: 10.1590/s0004-282x2010000600008.


Objective: To determine the prevalence, characteristics and impact of headache among university students.

Method: The criteria established by the International Headache Society were used to define the primary headache subtypes and the Migraine Disability Assessment Questionnaire (MIDAS), to assess the disability. The students were then grouped into six categories: [1] migraine; [2] probable migraine; [3] tension-type headache; [4] probable tension-type headache; [5] non-classifiable headache; [6] no headache.

Results: Of all undergraduate students interviewed, 74.5% had at least one headache episode in the last three months. Regarding disability, there was a significant difference between the headache types (p<0.0001). In the post-hoc analysis, migraine was the headache type with most reported disability.

Conclusion: Headache is a highly prevalent condition among the students at the University of Caxias do Sul. This disease may have a major impact on the students' lives and in some cases, ultimately lead to educational failure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Headache Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities