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BMJ. 1994 Mar 19;308(6931):763-6.

Population based study of fatigue and psychological distress.

Author information

  • 1Department of General Practice, St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London.

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.

Comment in

PMID:
7908238
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2539651
Free PMC Article
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