The present study evaluated a buddy program designed to provide support for individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
The intervention involved weekly visits by a student paraprofessional, who helped out with tasks that needed to be done in an effort to reduce some of the taxing demands and responsibilities that participants regularly encountered. This model of rehabilitation focused on avoiding overexertion in persons with CFS, aiming to avoid setbacks and relapses while increasing their tolerance for activity.
Participants with CFS were randomly assigned to either a 4-month buddy intervention or a control condition. Posttest results showed that:
• Individuals who received a student buddy intervention had significantly greater reductions in fatigue severity and increases in vitality than individuals in the control condition.
• There were no significant changes between groups for physical functioning and stress.
Buddy interventions that help patients with CFS reduce overexertion and possibly remain within their energy envelopes can be thought of as representing a different paradigm than nonpharmacologic interventions that focus only on increasing levels of activity through graded exercise.
Source: Journal of Clinical Psychology, Nov 9 2009. PMID: 19902489, by Jason LA, Roesner N, Porter N, Parenti B, Mortensen J, Till L. DePaul University, Chicago, USA.
• “DePaul Reports on an Alternative Way to Help People with ME/CFS, FM, and MCS” (Jan 2009)
• “Volunteer Buddy Program in Chicago for FM, CFS, MCS Patients” (Aug 2007)