Impact of headaches on university students in Durban, South Africa
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Background: Introspection into the factors that affect student success at higher education institutions has gained significant momentum in recent years. Teaching and learning has come under the spotlight with quality enhancement and teaching development funding focussing on student support, enhancing the student environment, and enhancing academics as teachers. Included in this are aspects that try to understand the student. An aspect that is not receiving attention is student health, specifically headaches which could impact student success. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of primary headaches on student academic, family and social life at one higher education institution in South Africa. Method: Data was collected using a questionnaire based descriptive cross sectional survey. Multistage sampling using a ballot method allowed for sampling to obtain representation from across the institution. To achieve a 95 % confidence level, 384 students from across the university were invited to participate after informed consent. Data was analysed using Chi square tests at a probability of p < 0.05. Results: Majority of the participants were undergraduates and non-smokers. Half of the population suffered from primary headaches. Headache sufferers experienced limited concentration due to an increased headache intensity during tests and/or the examination period. This negatively impacted on studying which was aggravated by consumption of caffeinated energy drinks, coffee and chocolate resulting in a less effective study session. Activities of daily living and participation in social events which usually leads to relaxation were neglected. Personal and emotional well-being was also negatively affected. Altered sleeping patterns and absence of study breaks also led to headaches. Conclusion: Headaches were found to impact on the students study and sleep patterns, their attention levels during lectures and their social and emotional life. Headaches negatively impacted on some participants leading to reduced focus on academic, family, social or leisure activities. Intensity of headaches increased during tests and examinations which could impact their success at University.
Basdav, J.; Haffejee, F. and Puckree, T. 2016. Impact of headaches on university students in Durban, South Africa. Springer Plus. 5(1): 1679.