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Pediatrics. 2008 Mar;121(3):e619-25. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-1488.

Efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy for adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome: long-term follow-up of a randomized, controlled trial.

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Expert Centre Chronic Fatigue, Radboud University, Nijmegen Medical Centre, Postbox 9011, 6525 EC Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



The purpose of this work was to assess the long-term outcome of adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome who received cognitive behavioral therapy and to determine the predictive value of fatigue severity and physical impairments of the adolescent and the fatigue severity of the mother at baseline for the outcome of the treatment at follow-up.


Sixty-six adolescent patients with chronic fatigue syndrome who previously participated in a randomized, controlled trial that showed that cognitive behavioral therapy was more effective than a waiting-list condition in reducing fatigue and improving physical functioning were contacted for a follow-up assessment. Fifty participants of the follow-up study had received cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome (32 formed the cognitive behavioral therapy group in the original trial, and 18 patients received cognitive behavioral therapy after the waiting period). The remaining 16 patients had refused cognitive behavioral therapy after the waiting period. The main outcome measures were fatigue severity (Checklist Individual Strength), physical functioning (Short-Form General Health Survey), and school attendance.


Data were complete for 61 patients at follow-up (cognitive behavioral therapy group: 47 patients; no-treatment group: 14 patients). The mean follow-up time was 2.1 years. There was no significant change in fatigue severity between posttreatment and follow-up in the cognitive behavioral therapy group. There was a significant further increase in physical functioning and school attendance (10% increase). The adolescents in the cognitive behavioral therapy group were significantly less fatigued and significantly less functionally impaired and had higher school attendance at follow-up than those in the no-treatment group. Fatigue severity of the mother was a significant predictor of treatment outcome.


The positive effects of cognitive behavioral therapy in adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome are sustained after cognitive behavioral therapy. Higher fatigue severity of the mother predicts lower treatment outcome in adolescent patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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