The Type A Behaviour Pattern and Chronic Headaches

Paul R. Martin, Paula R. Nathan, Dan Milech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article describes three studies that explore the relationship between headaches and the Type A behaviour pattern. The results of the first study demonstrated that in a student sample individuals who suffer from more fequent headaches and headaches of higher intensity have significantly elevated Type A scores. The second study complemented the first by showing that the majority of chronic headache sufferers displayed the Type A behaviour pattern; and the findings of the two studies together suggested that between 68% and 90% of chronic headache sufferers may be classified as Type A's. The results of the third study indicated that individuals whose headaches tended to be associated with negative affect (depression, anxiety, hostility, tiredness, confusion and unsureness) had significantly higher Type A scores than individuals whose headaches tended not to be associated with negative affect. It was suggested that the Type A behaviour pattern is a risk factor for headaches (as well as coronary heart disease and other disorders) as it resulted in the frequent experience of stress and negative affect which in turn could lead to headaches. Also, Type A individuals probably responded to headaches with more distress than those not exhibiting this behavioural style so that they were more likely to become trapped in the stress-headache spiral.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalBehaviour Change
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1987
Externally publishedYes

Cite this