Is Anger Behind Migraine?

Migraine without aura causes acute and chronic pain and partially compromises patients' social functioning and work performance. Over the past years, psychiatric comorbidities were frequently observed in these patients, together with coping difficulties and typical personality traits.

The aim of this study was to identify whether migraine patients and controls share distinctive personality traits. 105 consecutive patients suffering from migraine without aura referred to the Headache Center of Turin University were enrolled in the study and compared to a control group of 79 healthy subjects. Patients and controls completed several psychometric questionnaires, including the Temperament and Character Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory and the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory. Patients suffering from migraine show more depressive symptoms, difficult anger management with a tendency to hypercontrol, and a distinctive personality profile with high harm avoidance, high persistence and low self-directedness.

When a logistic regression was performed, the only significant predictors of migraine were temperament variables. The results suggest that the personality traits and psychosomatic mechanisms of migraine patients may make them vulnerable to stress and less skilled in coping with pain. These traits correlate with dysregulated neurotransmitter systems which may also be part of the psychobiological components of personality, depressive disorders and migraine itself.

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