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Pain Med. 2004 Mar;5(1):33-41.

Comorbidity of fibromyalgia and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in a community sample of women.

Author information

  • 1University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey 07103, USA. raphaekg@umdnj.edu



To test alternative explanations for the comorbidity between fibromyalgia (FM), a medically unexplained syndrome involving widespread pain, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In contrast to a default "risk factor" hypothesis, tested hypotheses were that: A) The association is due to a sampling bias introduced by the study of care-seeking individuals; B) FM is an additive burden that strains coping resources when confronting life stress; and C) Arousal symptoms of PTSD and FM are confounded.


Community-dwelling women in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area (N=1,312) completed a telephone survey regarding FM-like symptoms prior to September 11, 2001. Approximately 6 months after the World Trade Center terrorist attacks, they again completed the survey, to which questions regarding PTSD symptoms were added.


The odds of probable PTSD were more than three times greater in women with FM-like symptoms, both assessed after 9/11. The odds ratio was not reduced by controlling for FM-like symptoms before 9/11 or for the potentially confounded symptoms of PTSD specifically related to arousal.


These findings lead us to reject alternate explanations for the comorbidity between FM and PTSD. Speculations that FM and PTSD share psychobiological risk factors remain plausible.

Copyright American Academy of Pain Medicine

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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