WASHINGTON – Chronic migraine can have a noticeable impact on child-rearing and affect the overall quality of care provided to children by an afflicted parent or domestic partner, according to findings from the Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes (CaMEO) study presented at the annual meeting of the American Headache Society.
“Limited data exists on the burden of migraine on family members, [but] no one has actually studied the burden to family members of chronic migraine,” explained Dawn C. Buse, Ph.D., of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
The CaMEO study was initiated in the fall of 2012 as a prospective, web-based study that surveyed individuals with migraine and chronic migraine, with “cross-sectional modules embedded in a longitudinal design.” This module, called by investigators the Family Burden module, surveyed 13,064 individuals with migraine, of whom 994 met the criteria for chronic migraine – that is, subjects experienced at least 15 headache days per month for the last 3 months.
To assess the burden of chronic migraine on children and other family members, subjects and their partners/spouses responded to questions designed for exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). The questions covered reduced participation in, or enjoyment of, family activities; missed or canceled family events; effects of migraine on family members’ activities and emotions; and effect of migraine on migraineur’s interaction with children. Each question was answered with a number of 1-4, with 1 being complete disagreement and 4 being complete agreement.
“We also collected data directly from children who were age 13 and older,” said Dr. Buse. “That data, however, will be coming out next year.”
Unsurprisingly, 75.1% of migraine sufferers said that the noise of their child’s activities can cause or aggravate their headaches, but 66% said they get more easily angry or annoyed with their children when they have a headache, and 71.7% of parents said that they would be a better parent if they did not have chromic migraines.
For questions pertaining to participation and enjoyment of family events, 44.4% of migraineurs and 19.6% of partners “somewhat or completely” agreed that their migraines reduced their ability to properly parent their children. Forty-nine percent of migraneurs responded that chronic migraines reduced their enjoyment of children’s activities, 56.5% said that chronic migraines reduced their enjoyment of a significant event in the past year, and 65.3% said that migraines reduced their enjoyment of family activities.
Nearly 39% of subjects experiencing chronic migraines said that the affliction caused them to miss a holiday in the last year, 39% canceled an important holiday celebration in their own home over the last year, 33% said their children missed a scheduled activity in the last 30 days due to their parent’s migraine, and 33.9% said their children either missed a day of school or was dropped off/picked up late because the parent had a migraine.
Almost 32% of partners said that migraineurs were more demanding of their children because of their migraine, while 30.3% of subjects with migraines said that it has caused conflict between them and their children. Thirty percent of migraineurs said that the condition causes stress with their children, regardless of whether they’ve actually experienced a headache that day.
“Probands with chronic migraine and their spouses perceive a higher rate of burden on children,” Dr. Buse concluded. “Generally, the probands are harder on themselves than their spouses are; probands feel guiltier, sadder, angrier, more frustrated, or that their kids are more affected than their spouses perceive, and going forward, we’ll be analyzing what the kids say themselves.”
The CaMEO study was sponsored by Allergan. Dr. Buse disclosed that she has received grant support and honoraria from Allergan, the American Headache Society, and the National Headache Foundation; that she is an employee of Montefiore Medical Center, which has received research support funded by Allergan, CoLucid, Endo Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, MAP Pharmaceuticals, Merck, NuPathe, Novartis, Ortho-McNeil, and Zogenix, both directly and via grants from the National Headache Foundation.