To investigate perceived expressed emotion (EE) and self-esteem in adolescents with primary headaches and to assess the psychologic factors, especially perceived EE, that may play a mediating role in the relationship between pain severity and psychosocial quality of life (QoL).
The sample of this single-center cross-sectional case-control study consisted of 102 adolescents with migraine without aura, 36 adolescents with tension-type headache (TTH), 62 age- and sex-matched healthy adolescents, and their parents. Perceived EE was evaluated with the Shortened Level of Expressed Emotion Scale (SLEES). The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSS) was used to assess the self-esteem of the participants.
There were significant differences in both SLEES (F [2.199] = 7.913, P < .001) and RSS (F [2.199] = 8.138, P < .001) scores between the groups. When the two groups were compared in terms of SLEES score, adolescents with migraine and TTH had significantly higher levels of perceived EE and lower levels of self-esteem than their healthy peers. In mediation analyses, RSS and SLEES scores were found to be partial mediating factors in the relationship between pain severity and psychosocial QoL.
Adolescents with migraine and TTH had higher perceived EE and lower self-esteem than their healthy peers. The most important result of this study was the demonstration that self-esteem and perceived EE can be two factors that play a mediating role in the relationship between headache and psychosocial QoL.