Headache is the most common neurological symptom presenting to general practitioners (GPs). Identifying factors predicting outcome in patients consulting their GPs for headache may help GPs with prognosis and choose management strategies which would improve patient care. We followed up a cohort of patients receiving standard medical care, recruited from 18 general practices in the South Thames region of England, approximately 9 months after their initial participation in the study. Of the baseline sample (N = 255), 134 provided both full baseline and follow-up data on measures of interest. We determined associations between patients’ follow-up scores on the Headache Impact Test-6 and baseline characteristics (including headache impact and frequency scores, mood, attributions about psychological/medical causes of their headaches, satisfaction with GP care and illness perceptions). Greater impact and stronger beliefs about the negative consequences of headaches at baseline were the strongest predictors of poor outcome at follow-up.
- general practice
- illness perceptions