The buffering effect of family functioning on the psychological consequences of headache

Somayyeh Mohammadi, Sara Zandieh, Mohsen Dehghani, Farhad Assazadegan, Robbert Sanderman, Mariët Hagedoorn

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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The current study aimed to examine whether high family functioning mitigates the association between headache intensity and distress. The sample consisted of 124 patients with chronic or recurrent headache. Patients completed validated questionnaires about headache intensity, family functioning, and distress. Hierarchical regression analyses were performed to examine the interaction between headache intensity and family functioning on distress. Headache intensity was positively associated with distress (r = .28, p = .002). As hypothesized, family functioning moderated this association (B = −.01, p = .023). More specifically, the positive association between headache intensity and distress was significant only among patients with lower family functioning (B = .01, p < .001) and not among patients with higher levels of family functioning (B = .006, p = .075). Functional families appear to buffer the distress level in patients; they showed relatively low levels of distress regardless of the severity of their headache. In contrast, patients with dysfunctional families who experienced more pain reported more distress, presumably because they did not receive adequate help and support from these families. This study underlines the importance of a broader perspective on family dynamics in coping with pain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-243
Number of pages7
JournalPsychology, health & medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2017


  • IR-100010
  • METIS-316225


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