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J Psychosom Res. 1998 Jul;45(1):39-51.

Coping and adaptive outcome in chronic fatigue syndrome: importance of illness cognitions.

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Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


In this study, the relations between illness representations, coping behavior, and adaptive outcomes in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients (N=98) were examined. Following Leventhal's self-regulation model, it was hypothesized that illness representations would be directly related to coping and, via coping, to adaptive outcome. The results showed patients who considered their illness to be a serious condition, who believed that they had no control over their illness, who saw little possibility for cure, and who believed their illness to have serious consequences to cope with their illness in a passive way, report higher levels of impairment in physical and social functioning and report greater problems in mental health and vitality. A series of regression analyses showed illness representations to be stronger predictors of adaptive outcome than coping scores. The implications of these findings for the treatment of CFS patients are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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