Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 10–16 | Cite as

Age comparisons in acquiring biofeedback control and success in reducing headache pain

  • Edward P. Sarafino
  • Patricia Goehring
Empirical Articles


This article presents a review and archival analysis to assess age differences in acquiring biofeedback control and success in treating recurrent headache by using data from 56 studies with either adult (totalN=503) or child (totalN=98) subjects. All studies focused on treating headache with temperature biofeedback (TBF) or electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback. To standardize the varied measures across studies, we calculated each study’s percent change scores for biofeedback performance and headache activity. All headache activity scores included assessments of pain intensity. We then calculated subject-weighted means of percent change for biofeedback performance and for headache activity by summing the products of each relevant percent change score andN and then dividing by the total, number of subjects contributing to those sums. Results showed that both children and adults reported substantial improvements in headache activity with TBF and EMG biofeedback treatment (Ms ranged from 34% to 81%), but children showed significantly greater improvement than adults. No age differences were found in the acquisition of biofeedback control. Further analyses revealed two additional findings. First, biofeedback control and headache improvement were strongly correlated. Second, headache activity continued to decrease in the weeks following treatment, and this decrease was significantly greater for children than adults.


Migraine Behavioral Medicine Migraine Headache Tension Headache Home Practice 
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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward P. Sarafino
    • 1
  • Patricia Goehring
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe College of New JerseyEwing

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