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Family Stress Can Trigger Headaches in Children

From 10% to 30% of children experience headache symptoms every week. According to a new German study, family quarrels, a lack of free time, and the way parents respond to their children’s headaches all play a role in this phenomenon.

As part of a large-scale study entitled “Children, Adolescents, and Headache,” the researchers collected data about variables that concern children’s family and leisure time. When boys experienced more than one family quarrel a week, they had a 1.8 times greater risk of having headaches. Boys who had limited free time to themselves had a 2.1 times higher risk for headaches.

For girls, the manner in which their parents responded to their headaches created the greatest risk. Either positive or negative reinforcement from parents increased the risk of recurrent headaches by 25%.

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