More than one-third of adolescents experience recurrent headaches. Usually, these headaches are of primary origin and modulated by different biological and psychosocial factors. While parents are often consulted in scientific research and medical care about the nature of their child’s headache, it is unclear to what extent parents and their children agree upon the factors that cause them. Adolescents’ own attributions of headaches have rarely been investigated, and it is unclear how those attributions affect behavioral and emotional outcomes. In the present study, adolescents with chronic headaches (N
= 248) and their parents (N
= 120) rated the influence of various biological and psychosocial factors on the adolescents’ headaches. Associations between these factors and several behavioral and emotional outcomes were examined. The most frequently reported factor by both samples was stress; however, concordance between parents and adolescents was generally low. The factor “other disease” was significantly associated with medication consumption and school absence. This study is one of the first to provide insights into adolescents’ own attributions of headaches. Furthermore, the significant associations of the factor with behavioral outcomes reveal the importance of understanding personal explanatory models of headache. Future studies should examine associations between subjective headache causes and the individual’s experience of the disorder to improve headache interventions.
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