Prevalence, phenotype, and academic impact of headache among undergraduate health sciences students: a crosssectional study


  • Ana Gabriella Camelo Oliveira
  • Victor da Silva Teixeira
  • Weslley Medeiros Gois
  • Lívia Cristina Rodrigues Ferreira Lins





ABSTRACT Background: Headache is a common neurological condition among university students, and it can impact their academic performance. Objectives: to investigate the prevalence, clinical characteristics, and impact of headache on academic performance among undergraduate students of health sciences. Methods: The study was undertaken during February-June 2021 among a convenience sample of undergraduate students of Campus Lagarto of Federal University of Sergipe (UFS). Data were collected using an online self-administered questionnaire, which comprised a form with sociodemographic and clinical characteristics data and the Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS). Results: A total of 154 students participated in the study, with a mean of age of 23.35 ± 5.02 years and 75.9% were females. The overall headache prevalence was 93.5% in the past three months. Of those, 94.4% reported experiencing frequent headaches (≥2 episodes/month), 68.1% described the headache duration between 1-4 hours, with frontal predominance (38.9%), bilateral (50.7%), pulsating/throbbing quality (66.7%), moderate intensity (56.2%). Headache was associated with photophobia (53.9%), phonophobia (32.7%) and nausea (30.5%). Stress or anxiety (80.5%), excessive electronic devices use (68.8%), and sleep disturbance (61.7%) were considered as common triggering factors for headache among the participants. The MIDAS score showed that 73.5% of the students had some disability, and 77.1% stated that headache negatively affect their academic achievements. Conclusion: The prevalence of headache among the students oh health sciences courses was high and negatively impacted their academic performance. Thus, further studies are recommended to design strategies to reduce the headache prevalence and to increase the academic performance of these students.