, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 157-172,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 10 Mar 2011

Association between migraine, lifestyle and socioeconomic factors: a population-based cross-sectional study


To investigate whether sex-specific associations exist between migraine, lifestyle or socioeconomic factors. We distinguished between the subtypes migraine with aura (MA) and migraine without aura (MO). In 2002, a questionnaire containing validated questions to diagnose migraine and questions on lifestyle and socioeconomic factors was sent to 46,418 twin individuals residing in Denmark. 31,865 twin individuals aged 20–71 were included. The twins are representative of the Danish population with regard to migraine and other somatic diseases and were used as such in the present study. An increased risk of migraine was significantly associated with lower level of schooling and education, retirement, unemployment, and smoking. A decreased risk of migraine was significantly associated with heavy physical exercise and intake of alcohol. Direct comparison between the subtypes showed a decreased risk of MA compared to MO in subjects with low education or weekly intake of alcohol. The risk of MA was increased compared to MO in unemployed or retired subjects. Direct comparison between sexes showed a decreased risk of migraine for men compared to women in subjects who were low educated, unemployed or studying. The risk was increased for men compared to women in subjects with heavy physical exercise, intake of alcohol, and body mass index >25. Migraine was associated with several lifestyle and socioeconomic factors. Most associations such as low education and employment status were probably due to the negative effects of having migraine while others such as smoking were risk factors for migraine.