The Effect of the Psychiatric Co-Morbidities of Migraine in Medical University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study


  • Ruaa Elsheikh Widaa Taha MBBS .University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan.
  • Amro Elsheikh Widaa Taha Fifth-year Medical Student. Alzaiem Alazhari University, Khartoum, Sudan.
  • Mohammed Hammad Jaber Amin Fifth-year Medical Student. Alzaiem Alazhari University, Khartoum, Sudan.
  • Heitham Mohammed Ibrahim Awadal Department of community medicine, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan.



Medical Students, Migraine, Psychiatric Co-Morbidities, Characteristics, Impact


BACKGROUND: Migraine is a common neurological disorder with significant psychiatric co-morbidities and impact on quality of life. Medical students routinely have triggers, notably stress and irregular sleep, which are typically associated with migraine. The present study aimed to assess the effect of the psychiatric co-morbidities of migraine on medical university students.

METHODS: We conducted a descriptive cross-sectional study at Khartoum University on 356 students chosen by a multi-stage stratified sampling for the batch and gender, followed by a simple random sampling using self-administered questionnaires. Our survey consisted of the Patient Health Questionnaire 4-item (PHQ-4) to examine the effect of the psychiatric co-morbidities of migraine on medical students at Khartoum University. Migraine diagnosis was made according to ID Migraine. We analyzed the data using SPSS Software version 26.

RESULTS: The participants included 63.8% females and 36.2% males. The age of the participants ranged from 17–26-year-old, with the majority between 20-23 years old. Additionally, 73.6% of the students were caffeine consumers, and 6.5% were smokers. In addition, 66% of medical students confirmed having two or more general headaches during the past three months. The prevalence of migraine was 27.25% in the whole study group. According to the PHQ-4 scoring system, (36%) had mild psychological distress (score: 3-5), (28.9%) reported severe distress (score: 9-12), while (24.7%) and (10.3%) reported moderate (score: 6-8) and none (score: 0-2) psychological distress, respectively. There was a significant association between the intensity of migraine without medications and the psychological status of the patient (P <0.05).

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the effect of the psychiatric co-morbidities of migraine was variable among medical students at Khartoum University. Our study findings revealed a significant association between the intensity of migraine without medications and the psychological status of the patient. However, these results need to be affirmed by furthermore research with a large sample of medical students in different universities in Sudan.


Metrics Loading ...


Van Hemert S, Breedveld AC, Rovers J, Vermeiden JPW, Witteman BJM, Smits MG, et al. Migraine associated with gastrointestinal disorders: Review of the literature and clinical implications. Front Neurol. 2014;5(NOV):1–8.

Henschke N, Kamper SJ, Maher CG. The epidemiology and economic consequences of pain. Mayo Clin Proc [Internet]. Elsevier Inc; 2015;90(1):139–47. Available from:

Steiner TJ, Birbeck GL, Jensen RH, Katsarava Z, Stovner LJ, Martelletti P. Headache disorders are third cause of disability worldwide. J Headache Pain [Internet]. The Journal of Headache and Pain; 2015 Dec 25;16(1):58. Available from:

Macdonald G. Harrison’s Internal Medicine, 17th edition. - by A. S. Fauci, D. L. Kasper, D. L. Longo, E. Braunwald, S. L. Hauser, J. L. Jameson and J. Loscalzo. Intern Med J. 2008;38(12):932–932.

Katsarava Z, Buse DC, Manack AN, Lipton RB. Defining the differences between episodic migraine and chronic migraine. Vol. 16, Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2012. p. 86–92.

Noor T, Sajjad A, Asma A. Frequency, character and predisposing factor of headache among students of medical college of Karachi. J Pak Med Assoc. 2016;66(2):159–64.

Al-Hashel JY, Ahmed SF, Alroughani R, Goadsby PJ. Migraine among medical students in Kuwait University. J Headache Pain. 2014;15(1):1–6.

Waters WE, Connor PJO. Prevalence of migraine. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1975;(1969):613-6.

Menon B, Kinnera N. Prevalence and characteristics of migraine in medical students and its impact on their daily activities. Ann Indian Aced Neural. 2013;16(2):221–5.

Ra A. Prevalence and Impact of Migraine among University Students in Bangladesh : Findings from a Cross-sectional Survey.

Merikangas KR, Angst J, Isler H. Migraine and Psychopathology: Results of the Zurich Cohort Study of Young Adults. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990;47(9):849–53.

Smitherman TA, Mcdermott MJ, Buchanan EM. Research Submission Negative Impact of Episodic Migraine on a University Population : Quality of Life , Functional Impairment , and. Headache. 2011;51(0017-8748):581–9.

Domingues RB, Teixeira AL, Domingues SA. Physical practice is associated with less functional disability in medical students with migraine. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2011;69(1):39–43.

Balaban H, Semiz M, Senturk IA, Kavakci O, Cinar Z, Dikici A, et al. Migraine prevalence, alexithymia, and post-traumatic stress disorder among medical students in turkey. J Headache Pain. 2012;13(6):459–67.

Arabia S. Prevalence , predictors and triggers of migraine headache among medical students and interns in. Pak J Med Sci. 2017;33(2):270–5.

Stovner LJ, Hagen K, Jensen R, Katsarava Z, Lipton RB, Scher AI, et al. The global burden of headache: A documentation of headache prevalence and disability worldwide. Cephalalgia. 2007;27(3):193–210.

Akour A, Shabi W, Ageeli A. Prevalence of Migraine among Medical Students in Jazan University and Its Impact on Their Daily Activities. Egypt J Hosp Med. 2018;70(5):872–6.

Ojini F, Okubadejo N, Danesi M. Prevalence and clinical characteristics of headache in medical students of the University of Lagos, Nigeria. Cephalalgia. 2009;29(4):472–7.

Shahrakai MR, Mirshekari H, Ghanbari AT, Shahraki AR, Shahraki E. Prevalence of migraine among medical students in Zahedan faculty of medicine (Southeast of Iran). Basic Clin Neurosci. 2011;2(2):20–5.

Wang X, Sun J, Xing Y, Zhou H, Zhao Y, Zhu Y. The Prevalence and Awareness of Migraine Among University Students in Harbin, China. J Oral Facial Pain Headache. 2015;29(4):384–9.

Birru EM, Abay Z, Abdelwuhab M, Basazn A, Sirak B, Teni FS. Management of headache and associated factors among undergraduate medicine and health science students of University of Gondar, North West Ethiopia. J Headache Pain [Internet]. The Journal of Headache and Pain; 2016;17(1). Available from:

Bokhari FA, Sami W, Shakoori TA, Ali SA, Qureshi GA. Clinical characteristics of 226 college-going female migraineurs in Lahore, Pakistan - Putting ICHD-2 to the road test. Neuroendocrinol Lett. 2008;29(6):965–70.

Al-Shimmery EK. Precipitating and relieving factors of migraine headache in 200 Iraqi kurdish patients. Oman Med J. 2010;25(3):212–7.

McWilliams LA, Goodwin RD, Cox BJ. Depression and anxiety associated with three pain conditions: Results from a nationally representative sample. Pain. 2004;111(1–2):77–83.

Cottrell CK, Drew JB, Waller SE, Holroyd KA, Brose JA, O’Donnell FJ. Perceptions and needs of patients with migraine: a focus group study. J Fam Pract [Internet]. 2002 Feb;51(2):142–7. Available from:




How to Cite

Widaa Taha, R. E., Widaa Taha, A. E., Jaber Amin, M. H., & Ibrahim Awadal, H. M. (2023). The Effect of the Psychiatric Co-Morbidities of Migraine in Medical University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study. International Journal of Medical Students, 11, S72.



Abstracts of the WCMSR


Most read articles by the same author(s)