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J Psychosom Res. 2000 Jan;48(1):59-68.

Symptom patterns in long-duration chronic fatigue syndrome.

Author information

1
Department of Mathematics, Fitchburg State College, MA, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Our objective was to evaluate symptom patterns in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) who were ill for 10 or more years.

METHODS:

This cross-sectional self-report study compared patient groups with long-duration (median = 18 years; n = 258) and short-duration (median = 3 years; n = 28) CFS to a group of healthy significant others (n = 79) on symptomatic, neurocognitive, and psychological variables. Data were gathered from a 574-item postal questionnaire.

RESULTS:

A principal-components analysis of CFS symptom data yielded a three-factor solution: cognitive problems; flu-like symptoms; and neurologic symptoms. Compared with the short-duration CFS group, the long-duration group had significantly higher CFS symptom severity scores (p < 0.04), largely attributable to increased cognitive difficulties. A subgroup comparison of subjects ill for < 3 years versus those ill 4-7 years suggested that denial coping strategies were more likely in those participants with the shorter illness duration. Significant differences between both CFS groups and healthy controls were found in a number of comorbid disorders. Participants with CFS most often endorsed immune/viral abnormalities and persistent stress as important perceived causes of their illness.

CONCLUSION:

Participants with long-duration CFS reported a large number of specific cognitive difficulties that were greater in severity than those reported by participants with short-duration CFS. The pattern of comorbid disorders in the CFS groups was consistent with hypersensitivity and viral reactivation hypotheses.

PMID:
10750631
DOI:
10.1016/s0022-3999(99)00077-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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