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Women Health. 2000;30(4):121-36.

Patient factors related to the presentation of fatigue complaints: results from a women's general health care practice.

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1
Department of Health Organisation, Policy and Economics at Maastricht University.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine which patient-related factors predicted: (1) fatigue, (2) the intention to discuss fatigue and (3) the actual discussion of fatigue during consultation with a GP in a women's general health care practice. Patients were asked to complete two questionnaires: one before and one after consultation. The patient-related factors included: social-demographic characteristics; fatigue characteristics; absence of cognitive representations of fatigue; nature of the requests for consultation; and other complaints. Some 74% of the 155 respondents reported fatigue. Compared to the patients that were not fatigued, the fatigued patients were more frequently employed outside the home, had higher levels of general fatigue, and a higher need for emotional support from their doctor. A minority (12%) intended to discuss fatigue during consultation. Of the respondents returning the second questionnaire (n = 107), 22% reported actually discussing their fatigue with the GP while only 11% had intended to do so. In addition to the intention to discuss fatigue during consultation, the following variables related to actually discussing fatigue: living alone, caring for young children, higher levels of general fatigue, absence of cognitions with regard to the duration of the fatigue, and greater psychological, neurological, digestive, and/or musculoskeletal problems as the reason for consultation. Fatigue was found to be the single reason for consultation in only one case. It is concluded that fatigue does not constitute a serious problem for most patients and that discussion of fatigue with the GP tends to depend on the occurrence of other psychological or physical problems and the patient's social context.

PMID:
10983614
DOI:
10.1300/J013v30n04_09
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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