Research abstract:

Patterns of control beliefs in chronic fatigue syndrome: results of a population-based survey, by Johanna M. Doerr, Daniela S. Jopp, Michael Chajewski, Urs M. Nater in BMC Psychology (open access), 6 March 2017

BACKGROUND:   Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) represents a unique clinical challenge for patients and health care providers due to unclear etiology and lack of specific treatment. Characteristic patterns of behavior and cognitions might be related to how CFS patients respond to management strategies.

METHODS:   This study investigates control beliefs in a population-based sample of 113 CFS patients, 264 individuals with insufficient symptoms or fatigue for CFS diagnosis (ISF), and 124 well individuals.

RESULTS:   Controlling for personality and coping, individuals with low confidence in their problem-solving capacity were almost 8 times more likely to be classified as ISF and 5 times more likely to be classified as CFS compared to being classified as well. However there was a wide distribution within groups and individuals with “low confidence” scores were found in 31.7% of Well individuals. Individuals with low levels of anxiety and who were more outgoing were less likely to be classified as ISF or CFS.

CONCLUSIONS:   These findings suggest that fostering control beliefs could be an important focus for developing behavioral management strategies in CFS and other chronic conditions.


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