Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jrsocmedLink to Publisher's site
J R Soc Med. 1994 June; 87(6): 338–341.
PMCID: PMC1294564

Anxiety and depression in migraine.


The present study examined the prevalence and severity of anxiety and depression among people with migraine. To obtain a spectrum of migraine experience two potentially different samples were identified: over 600 patients attending migraine clinics and 87 migraine sufferers in the general population. International Headache Society criteria were used to establish the diagnosis of migraine. Anxiety and depression were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale and studies using this scale in other patient groups were identified for comparison. Approximately 50% of subjects experienced anxiety and 20% experienced depression, rates which were consistent across the two study groups. This prevalence of psychological morbidity is unexpectedly high and comparable to that measured in patients with other diseases. There is no evidence that it is correlated with frequency of migraine attacks. Anxiety and depression are common among people with migraine and remain largely unrecognized. Future studies should identify contributory factors.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (787K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Crisp AH, Kalucy RS, McGuinness B, Ralph PC, Harris G. Some clinical, social and psychological characteristics of migraine subjects in the general population. Postgrad Med J. 1977 Nov;53(625):691–697. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Brandt J, Celentano D, Stewart W, Linet M, Folstein MF. Personality and emotional disorder in a community sample of migraine headache sufferers. Am J Psychiatry. 1990 Mar;147(3):303–308. [PubMed]
  • Jarman J, Fernandez M, Davies PT, Glover V, Steiner TJ, Thompson C, Rose FC, Sandler M. High incidence of endogenous depression in migraine: confirmation by tyramine test. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1990 Jul;53(7):573–575. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Merikangas KR, Angst J, Isler H. Migraine and psychopathology. Results of the Zurich cohort study of young adults. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990 Sep;47(9):849–853. [PubMed]
  • Goldstein M, Chen TC. The epidemiology of disabling headache. Adv Neurol. 1982;33:377–390. [PubMed]
  • Stewart WF, Lipton RB, Celentano DD, Reed ML. Prevalence of migraine headache in the United States. Relation to age, income, race, and other sociodemographic factors. JAMA. 1992 Jan 1;267(1):64–69. [PubMed]
  • Zigmond AS, Snaith RP. The hospital anxiety and depression scale. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1983 Jun;67(6):361–370. [PubMed]
  • Aylard PR, Gooding JH, McKenna PJ, Snaith RP. A validation study of three anxiety and depression self-assessment scales. J Psychosom Res. 1987;31(2):261–268. [PubMed]
  • Barczak P, Kane N, Andrews S, Congdon AM, Clay JC, Betts T. Patterns of psychiatric morbidity in a genito-urinary clinic. A validation of the Hospital Anxiety Depression scale (HAD). Br J Psychiatry. 1988 May;152:698–700. [PubMed]
  • Wilkinson MJ, Barczak P. Psychiatric screening in general practice: comparison of the general health questionnaire and the hospital anxiety depression scale. J R Coll Gen Pract. 1988 Jul;38(312):311–313. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lewis G, Wessely S. Comparison of the General Health Questionnaire and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Br J Psychiatry. 1990 Dec;157:860–864. [PubMed]
  • Hopwood P, Howell A, Maguire P. Screening for psychiatric morbidity in patients with advanced breast cancer: validation of two self-report questionnaires. Br J Cancer. 1991 Aug;64(2):353–356. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Chandarana PC, Eals M, Steingart AB, Bellamy N, Allen S. The detection of psychiatric morbidity and associated factors in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Can J Psychiatry. 1987 Jun;32(5):356–361. [PubMed]
  • Morris J, Royle GT. Choice of surgery for early breast cancer: pre- and postoperative levels of clinical anxiety and depression in patients and their husbands. Br J Surg. 1987 Nov;74(11):1017–1019. [PubMed]
  • Hicks JA, Jenkins JG. The measurement of preoperative anxiety. J R Soc Med. 1988 Sep;81(9):517–519. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Robertson DA, Ray J, Diamond I, Edwards JG. Personality profile and affective state of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Gut. 1989 May;30(5):623–626. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hopwood P, Howell A, Maguire P. Psychiatric morbidity in patients with advanced cancer of the breast: prevalence measured by two self-rating questionnaires. Br J Cancer. 1991 Aug;64(2):349–352. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wands K, Merskey H, Hachinski VC, Fisman M, Fox H, Boniferro M. A questionnaire investigation of anxiety and depression in early dementia. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1990 May;38(5):535–538. [PubMed]
  • Andrews H, Barczak P, Allan RN. Psychiatric illness in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Gut. 1987 Dec;28(12):1600–1604. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dowell AC, Biran LA. Problems in using the hospital anxiety and depression scale for screening patients in general practice. Br J Gen Pract. 1990 Jan;40(330):27–28. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • O'Rourke A, Lewin B, Whitecross S, Pacey W. The effects of physical exercise training and cardiac education on levels of anxiety and depression in the rehabilitation of coronary artery bypass graft patients. Int Disabil Stud. 1990 Jul-Sep;12(3):104–106. [PubMed]
  • Waters WE, O'Connor PJ. Epidemiology of headache and migraine in women. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1971 Apr;34(2):148–153. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Rasmussen BK, Jensen R, Olesen J. Questionnaire versus clinical interview in the diagnosis of headache. Headache. 1991 May;31(5):290–295. [PubMed]
  • Rasmussen BK, Jensen R, Schroll M, Olesen J. Epidemiology of headache in a general population--a prevalence study. J Clin Epidemiol. 1991;44(11):1147–1157. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press