Migrän: Genetiskt inflytande, uppväxtförhållanden och personlighet i migränfamiljen

Bertil Persson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The monograph consists of an extensive survey of psychological and behavioral genetic research on migraine, reports of three empirical studies in this area and an extensive English summary. Study 1 indicated persons with migraine (n=28) drawn from a neurological clinic to have experienced negative psychosocial events to a significantly greater extent during their development than persons free of migraine in general population (n=28) had. In study 2, part 1 involving 30 subjects with migraine 87% reported stress as a major migraine trigger (the headache often appeared after stress). Study 2, part 2, a family history study showed there to be a significantly greater prevalence of migraine (27%) among the siblings of the same 30 migraine subjects than among the siblings of 30 migraine-free controls drawn from the general population (10%). This result suggests the heritability of migraine, although the high discordance found also points to the importance of the within-family environment. Study 3, part 1, involving 30 sibling pair in which the one had migraine (migraine sibling) and the other was migraine-free and use of various personality instruments (Eysenck Personality Inventory, EPI; Coulour Word Test, CWT; Visual Aftereffects, VAE; Meta Contrast Technigue, MCT; and Ceasarec-Markes Personality Schedule, CMPS) showed the migraine siblings to score significantly higer on neuroticism (EPI), to be more sensitive (MCT; EPI) to disply signs of greater anxiety (VAE; CWT) and to report greater scarcity of friends during childhood and less verbal as well as nonverbal encouragement from their parents, than the migraine-free siblings. Neuroticism was found to correlate significantly with migraine, but not with headache frequency or severity in the migraine group. It is argued that, due to the high neuroticism of migrainics, psychotherapy should be considered as an alternative to other prophylactic treatments such as use of beta-adrenoceptor blockers, although the acute onset should be pharmacologically treated. Study 3, part 2, employed a special developed Sibling Behavioral Genetic Method (SBM) involving participants of 30 full sibling pairs, one sibling with and the other without migraine, and also a new pairing of the same subjects so as to produce genetically unrelated pairs (again one with and the other without migraine). Both groups were approximately similar on factors such as SES, age, gender, grade and sixe of the maily. A certain model was applied to test an additive genetic hypothesis. Out of 21 personality factors sensitivity (MCT), achievement (CMPS), extraversion-introversion (EPI), aggression (CMPS), anxiety (CWT), guilt-feelings, exhibition and succorance (CMPS) fit the model assuming additive genetic influences. However, within family environment appeared to be the major source of variance for most of the traits. Neuroticism (EPI), anxiety (MCT) and defense of status (CMPS) could be accounted for socioeconomic status (SES). The results also supported the assumption thatgenetically related siblings reared together experience quite different envoronments, as different in fact as the genetically unrelated controls.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Psychology
  • Bengtsson, Hans, Supervisor
Award date1994 Apr 11
ISBN (Print)91-971837-68
Publication statusPublished - 1994

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 1994-04-11
Time: 13:15
Place: Carolinasalen, Kungshuset
External reviewer(s)
Name: Teasdale, Tom
Title: Associate professor
Affiliation: Centrum för Hjärnskador i Köpenhamn, Danmark

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology

Free keywords

  • anxiety
  • neuroticism
  • Migraine
  • extraversion-introversion
  • intra-class correlation
  • heritability
  • psychosocial environment
  • Sibling Behavioral Genetic Method.

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