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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2014 Apr;54(2):210-5.

Influence of graded exercise therapy on anxiety levels and health-related quality of life in chronic fatigue syndrome.

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Department of Physiology, Medical faculty University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia -



The purpose of the present study was twofold: 1) to determine to what extent graded exercise therapy (GET) improves health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and anxiety levels in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); and 2) to correlate scores of HRQOL and anxiety levels in CFS patients.


Anxiety and HRQOL were assessed in 26 CFS patients before and after 12 weeks of GET. Anxiety was measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory questionnaire (STAI) and HRQOL using the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form questionnaire (SF-36).


GET significantly decreased trait anxiety (STAI-T) levels in patients with CFS. Patients' scores on SF-36 following GET showed higher levels of functioning, but only the "vitality" subscale scores showed a statistically significant difference. A negative correlation was present between all eight subscales of SF-36 and anxiety levels. The strongest negative correlation for both state and trait anxiety scores (STAI-S and STAI-T) was found with the scores on the "Limitations due to emotional problems" subscale of SF-36 (r=-0.69 and r=-0.55, respectively), while the weakest negative correlation was with the "Physical functioning" subscale scores (r=-0.30 and r=-0.31, respectively).


Graded exercise therapy has a positive effect on both physical and psychological state of CFS patients. GET can decrease anxiety and improve quality of life of CFS patients. CFS patients with higher state and trait anxiety levels have lower quality of life, and vice versa.

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