Impact of Migraine on the Family: Perspectives of People With Migraine and Their Spouse/Domestic Partner in the CaMEO Study

Mayo Clin Proc. 2016 Apr 25:S0025-6196(16)00126-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.02.013. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To assess the impact of migraine on family members, activities, and relationships from the perspectives of the person with migraine and his or her spouse/domestic partner.

Patients and methods: The Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes (CaMEO) study is a longitudinal, Web-based study conducted from September 2012 to November 2013. Quota sampling from an online panel identified respondents who met modified International Classification of Headache Disorders, version 3 beta migraine criteria. The Family Burden Module included 24 items covering 6 domains. Findings for respondents with episodic migraine (EM) and chronic migraine (CM) are presented for both the affected individuals and their partners.

Results: Among 13,064 Family Burden Module respondents (65.7% response rate), there were 4022 migraineur-spouse dyads, including 2275 dyads with children. Burden increased with headache frequency across all 6 domains. People with migraine reported higher family burden due to migraine than did their spouse/partner. Reduced participation in family activities due to migraine was reported 1 or more times a month among 48.2% to 57.4% of migraineurs, depending on headache frequency (days/month). Many (low-frequency to high-frequency EM, 24.4%-40.4%; CM, 43.9%) perceived that their spouse/partner did not believe the severity/impact of their headaches. One-third of migraineurs stated that they worried about long-term financial security for themselves or their family because of their headaches. Many migraineurs felt they would be better parents without headaches (low-frequency to high-frequency EM, 29.9%-58.0%; CM, 71.7%).

Conclusion: This analysis quantified the pervasive burden of migraine on the family, highlighting the impact on family activities and relationships. Not surprisingly, the impact was greatest in families of people with CM.