The cross- ethnic variations in the prevalence of headache and other somatic complaints among adolescents in Northern IsraelReport as inadecuate

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The Journal of Headache and Pain

, 14:21

First Online: 04 March 2013Received: 16 November 2012Accepted: 19 February 2013


BackgroundHeadache is the most common cause for chronic or recurrent pain in childhood and adolescence. Chronic pain may have a long-term effect on adolescents. It might contribute to functional limitations, such as poor school attendance, and it may adversely affect development of healthy social relationships. The aim of our study was to examine the cross- ethnic variation in the prevalence of headache in a non- clinical sample of adolescents in Northern Israel and to learn about its association to other somatic complaints.

MethodsA self-administered, anonymous questionnaire was presented to 2,088 tenth grade students attending 19 high-schools in Northern Israel all the public high schools within two districts. Participants were Jews and Arabs, the latter including Muslim, Christians, and Druze, aged 15 to 16. Parental and student consent was obtained from all participants. The study was approved by the IRB of our institution.

ResultsAll 2088 questionnaires were returned although only 2019 were usable and analyzed. Arab adolescents comprised 55% 1117 of the analyzed sample and Jews 45% 902, 56% of participants were girls. Of the Arab participants, 18.6% reported having frequent headaches girls 25.3%, boys 9.1%, P<0.0001 much less than their Jewish peers P<0.0001 among whom 27.9% reported having frequent headaches girls 35.6%, boys 19% P<0.0001. Other somatic complaints such as abdominal pain, palpitations, disordered sleep and fatigue were more frequent in adolescents Jews and Arabs, girls and boys who suffered from headaches than in their peers who did not report having headaches P<0.0001, the same pattern observed in the Jewish and the Arab group.

ConclusionsHeadache is a frequent complaint among adolescents in Northern Israel. Jewish adolescents reported having headaches more frequently than their Arab peers. Those who suffered from frequent headaches also reported having significantly more other somatic complaints than adolescents without headaches. Girls had more somatic complaints then boys in the two ethnic groups.

KeywordsHeadache Somatic complains Adolescents Ethnicity  Download fulltext PDF

Author: Jacob Genizi - Isaac Srugo - Nogah C Kerem



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