The Effects of Psychological Stress on Electromyographic Activity and Negative Affect in Ambulatory Tension‐Type Headache Patients

John D. Rugh, John P. Hatch, Patricia J. Moore, Margaret Cyr‐Provost, Nashaat N. Boutros, Christina S. Pellegrino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

SYNOPSIS Fourteen female dental hygiene students (seven with episodic tension‐type headache and seven who rarely or never experienced headache) wore an ambulatory electromyographic recorder and completed hourly subjective ratings of pain and negative affective states for six days while they carried out their normal daily activities. Three of the days were designated as high stress days by virtue of the fact that the students were required to take a major course examination or undergo a clinical evaluation on that day. The remaining three days were designated as low stress days by virtue of the fact that no unusual demands were made on the students, and they simply attended lectures as usual. All students showed significantly greater levels of electromyographic activity on the high stress days compared to the low stress days, but there was not a statistically significant difference between the headache and control groups. Headache group subjects reported significantly higher levels of pain compared to the control group, but their pain ratings did not differ between high and low stress days. Subjective ratings of negative affective states (anxiety, anger, sadness, and frustration) were significantly greater on high stress days compared to low stress days. Headache group subjects also exhibited a tendency to report higher levels of negative affective states than did control group subjects, but only in the case of frustration was the .05 level of statistical significance achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-219
Number of pages4
JournalHeadache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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