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J Psychosom Res. 2003 Jun;54(6):515-21.

Measuring fatigue severity in primary care patients.

Author information

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, University of Iowa College of Medicine, 01292-D PFP, Iowa City, IA 52242-1097, USA.



We developed a new instrument to measure fatigue that synthesized information from existing instruments.


35 candidate items and 4 formats for a new fatigue scale were obtained from 15 previously developed instruments. A new scale was developed using factor analysis on a data set of 409 primary care patients and validated on a sample of 816 additional subjects.


Different formats for obtaining information about a given fatigue item gave similar results. The new 11 item scale contained four subscales: cognitive, fatigue, energy and productivity. Correlations between the four subscales ranged from.49 to.66. Patients with a higher fatigue score were much more likely to have lower health status, greater depression and more somatic symptoms.


This new instrument may be useful in primary care and epidemiological studies to screen and monitor patients for fatigue severity and type.

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