Effect of Headache Websites on Locus of Control and Self-efficacy of Readers

Paul R. Martin, Hui Yuan Timmings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Could a website be developed that would be more evidence-based and lead to readers having more positive cognitions (locus of control, self-efficacy) with respect to managing their headaches than the current websites?. Method: A new website was developed based on learning to cope with headache triggers rather than the traditional advice to avoid all triggers. An existing, commonly accessed, influential website was used for comparative purposes, which was equal in length and equivalent in readability to the new website. Sixty-two participants (42 female, 20 male) who had suffered from frequent headaches for at least 12 months were randomly assigned to reading one website or the other, followed by completing the following measures: Headache Management Self-Efficacy Scale, Headache-Specific Locus of Control scale, and a survey including questions on confidence and optimism with respect to managing headaches. Results: Analyses indicated that readers of the “coping” website compared with the traditional website had higher self-efficacy (p <.001) and lower chance locus of control (p <.001). The difference between the groups on internal locus of control was not significant when family-wise error adjustments were made (p <.04). Readers of the “coping” website felt more confident in managing their headaches (p <.006), more optimistic in managing their headaches (p <.003), and more optimistic that their headaches might decrease in frequency, intensity, and duration (p <.001). Conclusion: Websites need periodic revision as the research literature unfolds, and website designers should take into account the cognitive impact of websites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • headache
  • locus of control
  • migraine
  • self-efficacy
  • triggers
  • websites

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