The impact of migraine on health status

Headache. 1995 Apr;35(4):200-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.1995.hed3504200.x.


Problems: What is the effect of migraine on health status, defined as the patient's physical, psychological, and social functioning? And, suppose that the health status of migraine sufferers appears to be impaired, to what extent is this a consequence of migraine-associated comorbidity rather than of migraine itself?

Methods: A group of 846 migraineurs, selected from the general population following IHS criteria, and a control group were surveyed with the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form Health Survey, Nottingham Health Profile, EuroQol instrument, and the COOP/WONCA charts. Questions on demographic characteristics and comorbidity were included.

Results: The health status of migraineurs appeared to be significantly impaired in comparison to the control group. Because statistical significance is distinct from relevance, effect size estimators were employed. Although the direction of the differences indicated consistently a worse health status of the migraineurs, regardless of the instrument used, the sizes of the differences were small to medium. Self-reported comorbidity, especially depression, was more prevalent in the migraine group. However, this offered only a partial explanation for the impaired health status of the migraine group.

Conclusions: Migraine has an independent moderately deteriorating effect on the daily functioning of individuals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders* / complications
  • Migraine Disorders* / psychology