Headaches and Academic Performance in University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study

Headache: The Journal of Head and Face PainSouzae–Silva HR et al. – | December 01, 2011

A high prevalence of headache in the studied population was verified. A high headache impact on a student's life was associated with worse academic performance.


  • Cross–sectional study.
  • 380 students were randomly selected out of the 1718, 90.5% of them were interviewed.
  • A semi–structured interview, the Headache Impact Test (HIT–6) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale were used.
  • The variables related to academic performance: absenteeism, performance coefficient and number of failures in disciplines, were obtained by consulting the academic records.


  • 344 students were interviewed.
  • The headache prevalence was 87.2%. Migraine prevalence was 48.5%.
  • Tension–type headache prevalence was 42.4%.
  • During the 3 months prior to the interview, 8.7% sought emergency services, 30.8% missed class, and 30.8% had a reduction in their productive capacity because of headache.
  • HIT–6: substantial/severe impact = 49%.
  • Multiple linear regressions have shown that serious/very serious–impact headaches are significantly related to greater number of discipline failure and absenteeism.
  • There was no association between student grades and headaches.

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