Using the Five Factor Model of Personality, researchers from the 2022 study assessed the effect of these five personality traits on a person’s risk of incident headaches and concurrent headaches (multiple headaches that occur within a designated time frame). The study involved nearly 35,000 participants ranging in age from 16 to over 100 years old. Participants were followed up with over the course of 20 years.
The study findings revealed that neuroticism was strongly associated with an increased risk of both types of headaches in the long run. These individuals are often characterized by negative states of emotion, such as distress or anxiety, both of which can contribute to headaches. The researchers also noted that neuroticism tends to be linked with certain lifestyle habits that may also make one more susceptible to headaches, such as smoking, lack of exercise, and drinking alcohol. These individuals also tend to be prone to sleeping problems, which can also trigger headaches. In addition to neuroticism, introversion was also tied to a greater risk of both incident and concurrent headaches over time.