The Relationship Between Perceived Stress, Social Support and Chronic Headaches

Paul R. Martin, Kristina Soon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


SYNOPSIS A group of chronic headache sufferers (migraine and tension‐type headache) was compared with agroup of nonheadache control subjects in terms of two domains of social support (social integration andfunctional support), perceived social support, sources of social support, and perceived stress. Headachesufferers and controls were not differentiated with respect to number of social relationships, sources ofsupport and availability of support. In contrast, headache sufferers were significantly less satisfied withthe support available to them and scored lower on all four types of functional support measured(appraisal, esteem, belonging and tangible). Support measures did not show a linear relationship withheadache chronicity, and were at their lowest at an intermediate point in the headache history rather thanat an early or late point. Headache sufferers scored higher on perceived stress than control subjects anddifferences between the groups increased as a function of headache chronicity.The findings were interpreted as suggesting that clinicians and researchers should focus greaterattention on the social dimension of headaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-314
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • migraine
  • perceived stress
  • social suppor
  • tension headache

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