Goal frustration, coping and well-being in the context of adolescent headache: A self-regulation approach

Emma K. Massey*, Nadia Garnefski, Winifred A. Gebhardt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between goal frustration, coping and well-being in the context of adolescent headache. Firstly, we investigated whether adolescents with weekly, monthly or no headache complaints differed with regard to the importance assigned to their personal goals, experience of goal frustration, coping with goal frustration and well-being. Secondly, the extent to which goal and coping factors contributed to well-being and whether this relationship differed according to the frequency of headache complaints was examined. For this purpose, 1202 adolescents aged 12-18 completed self-report questionnaires in schools. Adolescents were divided into three groups based on their experience of headache: no headache reported (38%); monthly headache (40%); weekly headache (18%). Results show that these groups did not differ with respect to the importance they attach to goals. They did, however, differ according to experience of goal frustration, use of strategies to cope with goal frustration and well-being, although effect sizes were small. After controlling for individual and headache characteristics, frustration of self acceptance and health goals, and the use of self blame, rumination and other blame were consistently related to lower well-being. Moreover, interactions with headache group indicated that for adolescents with weekly headache, greater frustration of school and self acceptance goals and a lower importance assigned to health goals was more detrimental to well-being than for those with no headache complaints. We conclude that frustration to goal pursuit and strategies for coping with this frustration are important factors in adolescent well-being and may offer important targets for intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-984
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


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