Childhood adversities, including witnessing parental domestic violence, linked to later migraines

Jul 13, 2015

by Science Daily

Adults who were exposed to childhood adversity, including witnessing parental domestic violence, childhood physical and sexual abuse have higher odds of experiencing migraine headaches in adulthood, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Toronto.

“We found the more types of violence the individual had been exposed to during their childhood, the greater the odds of migraine. For those who reported all three types of adversities–parental domestic violence, childhood physical and sexual abuse–the odds of migraine were a little over three times higher for men and just under three times higher for women” said Sarah Brennenstuhl, PhD, first author of the study.

Investigators examined a nationally representative sample of 12,638 women and 10,358 men aged 18 and over from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health.

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3 comments on “Childhood adversities, including witnessing parental domestic violence, linked to later migraines

  • It is, of course, irrelevant to discuss personal (i.e. a set of 1) experience when considering such a study based on a very large sample and regression analysis. However, I’m going to stick my neck out …

    With the benefit of hindsight I witnessed, or was party to, enough childhood violence to fill a large book. Uniquely in my family, except for one parent, I suffered with migraines. They (people in general – though I hear it may be science based) do say these things run in families.

    I won’t draw any conclusions. I am, not for the first time, grateful to be anonymous.

    Nevertheless, I can draw a great deal of comfort from this study. Simple facts can do that. Science: Full of simple facts for you. Investigate today.


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  • I agree with Stephen’s sentiment regarding anecdotal evidence. That said, I also experienced violence in my childhood and suffer from migraines.

    Whether this study turns out to be rigorous or not, it is worth adding it to the list of indictments against my parents at the next family gathering.

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  • Some religions do seem to promote child abuse in the name of their confused “morality”!
    An Australian man has been jailed for eight years for arranging an Islamic marriage between his 12-year-old daughter and a man twice her age.

    He said he allowed the girl to marry a 26-year-old Lebanese man, in a ceremony in New South Wales, because he did not want her to have sex outside marriage.

    The 63 year old was found guilty in April of procuring a child under the age of 14 for unlawful sexual activity.

    The father, who cannot be named to protect his daughter’s identity, told Downing Centre District Court that he considered sex outside marriage a sin, so when his daughter reached puberty he decided she should marry.

    When the Lebanese man, who was in Australia on a student visa, showed an interest, he arranged for a local sheikh to carry out the ceremony.

    The marriage, which is not recognised under Australian law, was consummated at a hotel on the night of the wedding with the father’s permission.

    The pair also had sex at the father’s home the following weekend. The court heard that the girl later had a miscarriage.

    The man was jailed for seven and a half years in March for the sexual abuse of minor.

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