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Physicaltherapyscience.com- News - Locus of control in patients with headache

Locus of control in patients with headache

Migraine and tension-type headaches are highly prevalent and have a strong impact on society. Locus of Control (LoC) is related to the impact of headaches and chronic pain. The extent patients believe they can control events affecting their pain is influenced by the degree of LoC.

Individuals with internal LoC believe that events in their life derive primarily from their own actions. Individuals with External LoC attribute outcomes of events to external circumstances, for example, “the intervention of powerful others such as health-care professionals.” Chance LoC represents unordered forces such as fate and luck. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a successful and most common psychological approach in treating pain and is effective in reducing disability and catastrophic reaction. Positive outcomes have been detected also in patients with chronic daily headaches. CBT helps to reduce pain by learning how to manage the LoC in headaches.

The Headache-Specific Locus of Control Scale (HSLC) by Martin en Holroyd was developed in the US using the framework from Rotter’s social learning theory. The original US English version of the HSLC showed promising psychometric properties. Three-weektest-retest reliabilities of the subscales ranged between 0.72 and 0.78. Internal consistency reliabilities ranged between 0.84 and 0.88 [6]. Danish (Jensen R et al) and Spanish versions are available. The Danish version was reliable and valid in a multiethnic sample from a tertiary care headache center.

Recently the dutch version of the HSLC has been translated and found valid for use in patients with headache. This research has been published in Pain Research and Management.

Dutch questionnaire HSLC

Mw. drs. MC Willekens
Drs. D Postel
Drs. DM Keesenberg
Dr. R. Lindeboom


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