An examination of the validity of the IHS classification system for migraine and tension-type headache in the college student population.

Rokicki LA, Semenchuk EM, Bruehl S, Lofland KR, Houle TT
Headache. 1999 39 (10): 720-7

PMID: 11279948 · DOI:10.1046/j.1526-4610.1999.3910720.x

The validity of the International Headache Society (IHS) classification system for college-aged students with headache was examined using cluster analysis. Undergraduate college student volunteers (N = 369) underwent a structured diagnostic interview for headaches, and the sample was divided into two subsamples for purposes of replication. A hierarchical cluster analysis (Ward's method) of the headache characteristics reported by the first subsample suggested a statistically distinct three-cluster solution, and the solution was replicated using the second subsample. It appeared that one cluster was tensionlike, while the other two were migrainelike. Nonhierarchical cluster analyses (K-means) of the cases from each subsample revealed a similar pattern of a tensionlike and two migrainelike clusters. Identical three-cluster solutions were found for the second subsample both by using cluster centers from the first subsample and by clustering the cases independently, suggesting that the cluster solution was not a random finding. The IHS classification system appears to lack adequate specificity and sensitivity for college-aged students with headache who report migrainelike symptoms. Thus, the generalizability of research results using college-aged students with headache to the adult population may be questionable.

MeSH Terms (8)

Adult Humans International Cooperation Migraine Disorders Societies, Medical Students Tension-Type Headache Universities

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