Coping and the self-control of chronic tension headache

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Assigned 39 community residents, mean age 35.2 yrs, with chronic tension headache to 1 of 2 self-control treatment groups, a headache discussion group, or a symptom-monitoring control group. Ss in the 2 self-control treatment groups and in the headache discussion group were provided similar rationales for treatment and were taught to monitor their cognitive responses to stress-eliciting situations. Ss in the 2 self-control treatment groups were also taught either cognitive or both cognitive and relaxation coping skills for controlling tension headache. Ss in the headache discussion group were not provided with specific skills for controlling their headaches but were led in a discussion of the historical roots of their symptoms. Both the self-control treatments and the headache discussion procedure produced substantial reductions in headache that were maintained at a 6-wk follow-up. The symptom-monitoring control group showed no change in headache symptoms. These findings provide additional evidence of the effectiveness of cognitively oriented therapeutic procedures for the treatment of tension headache but raise questions concerning the active ingredients of these treatments. (41 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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