Research abstract:

There is growing recognition in psychology that wellness is more than the absence of disease and distress. Well-being has been defined in numerous ways. Two dominant models include Diener, Eunkook, Suh, Lucas and Smith’s (1999) model of subjective well-being (SWB) and Ryff’s (1989) model of psychological well-being (PWB).

In contrast to the abundance of research investigating negative constructs and psychopathology in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), there has been a paucity of positive psychology studies.

This study had two aims: to examine PWB and SWB and their relationship to symptoms in CFS and to compare PWB scores in a subgroup of the CFS sample to a matched control

Chronic fatigue syndrome participants (n = 60) completed self-report scales of PWB, SWB, fatigue, anxiety and depression. PWB scores in a subgroup of the CFS sample (n = 42) were compared with those of a matched nonclinical control group (n = 42).

Correlations between scales of symptoms and well-being were complex. Well-being dimensions were largely independent of physical components of fatigue but strongly related to psychological components of fatigue and psychological distress. Multiple regression indicated that five dimensions of well-being uniquely predicted symptomatology. Compared with the control group, the CFS group scored significantly lower on five of Ryff’s six PWB dimensions, with particularly marked deficits in
personal growth, environmental mastery and self-acceptance.

This multidimensional assessment of well-being advances our understanding of CFS and offers new treatment targets. Future research must investigate whether interventions targeting theses well-being deficits can boost the efficacy of symptom-focused treatments.

Well-being in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Relationship to symptoms and psychological distress, by H. Jackson, A.K. MacLeod in Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
[Preprint] October 13, 2016

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