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Ethn Health. 2005 Nov;10(4):263-78.

The relationships among coping styles and fatigue in an ethnically diverse sample.

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  • 1Center for Community Research, Chronic Fatigue Research Study, Chicago, IL 60614, USA. nmgloria@depaul.edu

Abstract

The present study focused on coping strategies among African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and idiopathic chronic fatigue (ICF). The coping strategies examined were measured by using the COPE Scales, which assess Seeking Emotional Social Support, Positive Reinterpretation and Growth, Acceptance, Denial, Turning to Religion, Behavioral Disengagement, and Focusing on and Venting Emotions. In addition, the four coping strategies specifically designed for people with CFS, including maintaining activity, accommodating to the illness, focusing on symptoms, and information-seeking, were used in this study. It was hypothesized that African Americans and Latinos in comparison to European Americans would be more likely to use religious coping, behavioral disengagement, and denial. As predicted, African Americans were significantly more likely to turn to religion than European Americans, and Latinos and African Americans used denial significantly more often than European Americans. An additional finding was that focusing on symptoms was associated with greater fatigue and more physical disability among African Americans. Within the Latino sample, acceptance was related to greater fatigue and less physical disability, and greater optimism predicted less mental disability. Among European American participants, maintaining activity was related to less mental disability, whereas accommodating to the illness predicted more physical disability. These results indicate that coping varies among various ethnic groups with CFS and ICF; however, denial is consistently related to less adaptive outcomes. Therefore, healthcare professionals should find ways to reduce patient use of denial and promote alternative strategies for managing life events.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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