Analysis of Childhood Traumas and Defense Styles in Patients With Tension Headache

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Objective: Studies indicate that patients tend to develop chronic tension headache as a response to stress. The present study investigated the relationship between headache and the events that caused childhood traumas and defense styles, which could be considered as a significant source of stress in individuals with tension headache.

Methods: Fifty patients between the ages of 18 and 65 years diagnosed with tension headache were included in the present study. The control group included 50 healthy participants. All study participants completed a sociodemographic data form prepared by the researchers and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and Defense Style Questionnaire.

Results: Traumatic experiences (emotional abuse, physical abuse, emotional neglect, physical neglect, and sexual abuse) were significantly higher in the patient group compared to the control group. The total score of immature and neurotic defense styles was higher in the patient group than in the control group (P < .001, P < .001). The mature defense styles total score was significantly higher in the control group than in the patient group (P = .006). A positive correlation was found between the childhood trauma scores and immature and neurotic defense style scores.

Conclusion: The findings indicate that traumatic experiences during childhood were more frequent in patients with tension headache compared to healthy individuals. Furthermore, these individuals had difficulty coping with stress, and inappropriate defense styles were employed as a response to stress.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2020;22(5):20m02592

https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.20m02592