Send to

Choose Destination
Behav Res Ther. 2012 Nov;50(11):719-25. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2012.08.005. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

Family-focused cognitive behaviour therapy versus psycho-education for adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome: long-term follow-up of an RCT.

Author information

Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, Weston Education Centre, Cutcombe Road, London SE5 9RJ, UK.


The aim of this study was to investigate the long term efficacy of family-focused cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) compared with psycho-education in improving school attendance and other secondary outcomes in adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). A 24 month follow-up of a randomised controlled trial was carried out. Participants received either 13 one-hour sessions of family-focused CBT or four one-hour sessions of psycho-education. Forty-four participants took part in the follow-up study. The proportion of participants reporting at least 70% school attendance (the primary outcome) at 24 months was 90% in CBT group and 84% in psycho-education group; the difference between the groups was not statistically significant (OR = 1.29, p = 0.80). The proportion of adolescents who had recovered in the family-focused CBT group was 79% compared with 64% in the psycho-education, according to a definition including fatigue and school attendance. This difference was not statistically significant (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.34). Family-focused CBT was associated with significantly better emotional and behavioural adjustment at 24 month follow-up compared to psycho-education, as reported by both adolescents (F = 6.49, p = 0.02) and parents (F = 4.52, P = 0.04). Impairment significantly decreased in both groups between six and 24 month follow-ups, with no significant group difference in improvement over this period. Gains previously observed for other secondary outcomes at six month follow-up were maintained at 24 month follow-up with no further significant improvement or group differences in improvement. In conclusion, gains achieved by adolescents with CFS who had undertaken family-focused CBT and psycho-education generally continued or were maintained at two-year follow-up. The exception was that family-focused CBT was associated with maintained improvements in emotional and behavioural difficulties whereas psycho-education was associated with deterioration in these outcomes between six and 24-month follow-up.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center