Aims – The aims of the study are to evaluate the prevalence rates for headache among an Italian sample of early-adolescents and the role of possible related factors (school stress and social support). Methods – The survey reported here is part of the larger Health Behaviour in School Aged Children (HBSC) trans-national study, which is co-ordinated by the European Office of the World Health Organization. The data were gathered through self-administered questionnaires filled out by a representative sample of 4, 386 (48.4% males) Italian students (11-, 13- and 15-year old). The main areas covered in the questionnaire were health and health behaviour. Results – The overall prevalence of frequent headache (at least once a week) was 40.5%. Boys are less at risk than girls and the prevalence increases with age. Moreover, school demands (positively) and teacher's support (negatively) showed a significant association with the outcome. Conclusions – Compared to other countries, results revealed how this symptom is very common among Italian's early adolescents. Further, results shows the relevance of the school setting, in terms of teacher's demands and support, for the prevention of this symptom among early adolescents.
Declaration of Interest: The HBSC study is partly funded by the University of Padova through a scholarship attributed to Dr. Alessio Vieno (Year 2001 - prot. CPDR013233).