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Had severe headaches/migraine, past 3 months

Codes and Frequencies

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MIGRAIN3MO identifies sample adults who had a severe headache or migraine during the past 3 months.

The interviewer preceded this question by reading the statement, "Please refer to pain that lasted a whole day or more. Do not report aches and pains that are fleeting or minor." The Field Representative's Manual for 1997-2000 reinforced this point by stating, "'Pain' is respondent-defined, but must have lasted a whole day or more or have occurred several (more than 3) times during the past 3 months." This latter directive was not, however, routinely shared with respondents during the interview.

Related Variables 

This inquiry was part of a set that inquired about five specific pains for sample adults during the past 3 months. Along with asking about severe headache or migraine, interviewers asked about neck pain (NECKPAIN3MO), low back pain (LBPAIN3MO), low back pain which "spread down either leg to areas below the knees" (LEGPAIN3MO), and facial ache or pain in jaw muscles or joint in front of ear (FACEPAIN3MO). An additional question included in 2002 identified sample adults who had "recurring pain" during the past 12 months (PAINYR).

In 2007, sample adults were also asked if they had "regular headaches" during the past 12 months.

A separate inquiry identified sample children age 3 to 17 who had frequent or severe headaches, including migraines, during the past 12 months (FHEADYR). Available in 2007 only, HEADACHEYR identifies sample children age 3 to 17 who had recurring headaches, other than migraines.

In 2007, respondents were also asked to report whether sample children experienced abdominal pain (ABPAINYR), back or neck pain (BACKPAINYR), or other chronic pain (OTHPAINYR) during the past 12 months.


This variable is completely comparable over time.


  • 1997-2013; 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 1997-2018