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Br J Med Psychol. 1995 Dec;68 ( Pt 4):323-31.

Life-events and the course of chronic fatigue syndrome.

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Department of Human Sciences, Brunel University, Middlesex, UK.


Life-events have been implicated in the onset and course of various illnesses. The present study examined their role in chronic fatigue syndrome, in the context of the ongoing illness. Using the PERI list, events experienced during the past year were elicited in interviews with 130 patients. The analyses were restricted to those events implying moderate or major life change, and separate analyses were carried out for positive and negative events. Positive events were found to be associated with lower scores for fatigue, impairment, anxiety and depression, as assessed at the time of the life-events interview, and these relationships were also significant when prior scores at the beginning of the year were statistically controlled. Negative life-events were associated with higher anxiety, but were unrelated to the other measures. It was concluded that positive life-events and experiences may contribute to the process of recovery in chronic fatigue syndrome, though their occurrence may also be facilitated by a preceding lifting of symptoms.

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