Secondary analysis on self-reported headaches among male and female school adolescents


  • Salma B. Galal Department of Community and Occupational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt
  • Omaima I. Abo-Elkheir Department of Community and Occupational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt



Adolescents, Contributing-factors, Dizziness, Egypt, Headaches, Self-reported


Background: Recurrent headaches might be an indication of an underlying disease. It could interfere with the quality of life, school attendance and performance, and daily activities. This study aims to identify factors associated to headaches among male and female adolescents.

Methods: This is a secondary analysis of a sample of 548 adolescents of a data set of 863 adolescent students aged 12 to 18 years assessed through a self-administered health questionnaire. The primary survey design was a multistage stratified random sample from preparatory and secondary schools in Cairo and rural areas in Qaliubia governorate, Egypt. No distinction was made between primary and secondary headache. Around 65% of the primary data base was randomly selected by SPSS. Taking gender into consideration, adolescents suffering from at least one headache a week (342) were compared with those who had no complaints of a headache (206).

Results: Headaches were reported among 62.4% of the adolescents studied with a significantly higher number of female than male students reporting headaches; 69.9% versus 55.8%. Adolescent males and females with headaches have significantly more weekly symptoms of any disease than those without (18.7% versus 6.8%). They also suffer significantly more abdominal pain, sleep disturbance, feelings of nervousness or dizziness. Significantly more adolescent females (29.1%) suffer from chronic headaches (4-7 times/week) than their male counterparts (8%).

Conclusions: Adolescents who play sports have significantly fewer headaches. The most relevant factors associated with headaches with binary regression were dizziness (OR=2), abdominal pain (OR=1.34), sleep disturbance (OR=1.25), and feeling nervous (OR=1.24).


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Original Research Articles