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Psychol Med. 1995 Sep;25(5):937-45.

Coping with chronic fatigue syndrome: illness responses and their relationship with fatigue, functional impairment and emotional status.

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  • 1Department of Human Sciences, Brunel University, Uxbridge, London.


The implications of patients' approaches to managing chronic fatigue syndrome were examined in a cross-sectional study. With severity of fatigue controlled, attempting to maintain activity was associated with less functional impairment, while accommodating to the illness was positively related to impairment; behavioural disengagement was related not only to higher levels of impairment but also to greater emotional disturbance. Fatigue itself was positively associated with focusing on symptoms and with behavioural disengagement; it was associated also with illness accommodation, but only for illness of longer duration. The causal direction of relationships between coping and fatigue severity is ambiguous, and a follow-up study will address the effects of coping on changes in the illness over time.

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