• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of bmjBMJ helping doctors make better decisionsSearchLatest content
BMJ. Mar 19, 1994; 308(6931): 763–766.
PMCID: PMC2539651

Population based study of fatigue and psychological distress.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES--To determine the prevalence of fatigue in the general population and the factors associated with fatigue. DESIGN--Postal survey. SETTING--Six general practices in southern England. SUBJECTS--31,651 men and women aged 18-45 years registered with the practices. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Responses to the 12 item general health questionnaire and a fatigue questionnaire which included self reported measures of duration, severity, and causes of fatigue. RESULTS--15,283 valid questionnaires were returned, giving a response rate of 48.3%, (64% after adjustment for inaccuracies in the practice registers). 2798 (18.3%) of respondents reported substantial fatigue lasting six months or longer. Fatigue and psychological morbidity were moderately correlated (r = 0.62). Women were more likely to complain of fatigue than men, even after adjustment for psychological distress. The commonest cited reasons for fatigue were psychosocial (40% of patients). Of 2798 patients with excessive tiredness, only 38 (1.4%) attributed this to the chronic fatigue syndrome. CONCLUSION--Fatigue is distributed as a continuous variable in the community and is closely associated with psychological morbidity.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (949K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Payne-James J, Silk D. Clinical nutrition support. BMJ. 1990 Jul 7;301(6742):1–2. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lewis G, Wessely S. The epidemiology of fatigue: more questions than answers. J Epidemiol Community Health. 1992 Apr;46(2):92–97. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • David AS, Wessely S, Pelosi AJ. Postviral fatigue syndrome: time for a new approach. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988 Mar 5;296(6623):696–699. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Manu P, Matthews DA, Lane TJ. The mental health of patients with a chief complaint of chronic fatigue. A prospective evaluation and follow-up. Arch Intern Med. 1988 Oct;148(10):2213–2217. [PubMed]
  • Behan PO, Behan WM. Postviral fatigue syndrome. Crit Rev Neurobiol. 1988;4(2):157–178. [PubMed]
  • Wessely S, Powell R. Fatigue syndromes: a comparison of chronic "postviral" fatigue with neuromuscular and affective disorders. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1989 Aug;52(8):940–948. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Butler S, Chalder T, Ron M, Wessely S. Cognitive behaviour therapy in chronic fatigue syndrome. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1991 Feb;54(2):153–158. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Chalder T, Berelowitz G, Pawlikowska T, Watts L, Wessely S, Wright D, Wallace EP. Development of a fatigue scale. J Psychosom Res. 1993;37(2):147–153. [PubMed]
  • Croft P, Rigby AS, Boswell R, Schollum J, Silman A. The prevalence of chronic widespread pain in the general population. J Rheumatol. 1993 Apr;20(4):710–713. [PubMed]
  • Recent topics in cystic fibrosis. Symposium held by the Section of Pediatrics of the Royal Society of Medicine, 26 October 1990, London. J R Soc Med. 1991;84 (Suppl 18):1–39. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bickler G, Sutton S. Inaccuracy of FHSA registers: help from electoral registers. BMJ. 1993 May 1;306(6886):1167–1167. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Jones R, Lydeard S. Irritable bowel syndrome in the general population. BMJ. 1992 Jan 11;304(6819):87–90. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cathébras PJ, Robbins JM, Kirmayer LJ, Hayton BC. Fatigue in primary care: prevalence, psychiatric comorbidity, illness behavior, and outcome. J Gen Intern Med. 1992 May-Jun;7(3):276–286. [PubMed]
  • Kroenke K, Wood DR, Mangelsdorff AD, Meier NJ, Powell JB. Chronic fatigue in primary care. Prevalence, patient characteristics, and outcome. JAMA. 1988 Aug 19;260(7):929–934. [PubMed]
  • McDonald E, David AS, Pelosi AJ, Mann AH. Chronic fatigue in primary care attenders. Psychol Med. 1993 Nov;23(4):987–998. [PubMed]
  • David AS. Postviral fatigue syndrome and psychiatry. Br Med Bull. 1991 Oct;47(4):966–988. [PubMed]
  • Katon W, Russo J. Chronic fatigue syndrome criteria. A critique of the requirement for multiple physical complaints. Arch Intern Med. 1992 Aug;152(8):1604–1609. [PubMed]

Articles from BMJ : British Medical Journal are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • MedGen
    MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...