Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Childhood migraine is a prevalent disorder seen in pediatric practice. Preliminary uncontrolled reports evaluating skin temperature biofeedback with autogenic training have suggested that it may be a useful intervention for childhood migraine. The present study used a controlled group outcome design to further evaluate the effectiveness of skin temperature feedback with autogenic training and home practice. Subjects were 28 children, ages 7 to 16, 14 males and 14 females. After receiving a physician's diagnosis of migraine a second diagnosis of migraine was made by the experimenter. Children were matched by baseline headache intensity, sex and age and then randomly assigned to either a waiting-list control or treatment group. Six dependent measures of headache activity were obtained from weekly headache records that the child and parents kept during baseline, treatment and follow-up. Assessment of ability to increase skin temperature without feedback was made at pre- and post-treatment sessions. The waiting-list control group attended 2 attention placebo sessions during the baseline period and one at the end of treatment. The treatment group participated in two pre-treatment measurement sessions and 10 treatment sessions with home practice. Nine sessions included analogue skin temperature feedback and self-control phases. The tenth consisted of self-control only. Results of a 2 x 3 analysis of variance with one repeated measure found the treated group was improved significantly on headache index, frequency, duration, highest headache intensity rating and average peak headache intensity rating at the end of treatment as compared to the waiting-list control group. At the one-month follow-up these headache variables were still significantly improved for the treated group, and their medication index was also significantly reduced as compared to the waiting-list control group. Analyses of the skin temperature data showed the treated group significantly increased skin temperature without feedback at the end of treatment as compared to pre-treatment performance, but scores were not significantly different from the waiting-list control group's scores. The study is the first controlled experimental demonstration that skin temperature biofeedback with autogenic training and home practice is an effective treatment for childhood migraine.