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Service Utilization, Barriers to Service Access, and Coping in Adults with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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By Rosemary A. Underhill and Ruth O'Gorman • • December 13, 2006

Journal: Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, vol. 14, No. 1, 2007 [Abstract published online ahead of article, which is not yet available] Authors: Rosemary A. Underhill, Ruth O'Gorman. DOI: 10.1300/

Objective: In a sample of 47 adults with CFS, we aimed to describe patterns of service utilization, identify barriers to service access, and explore the relationship between service utilization and coping styles.

Method: A questionnaire assessing service utilization frequency and barriers to service access was administered to a sample of 47 individuals with CFS. The Illness Management Questionnaire was used to assess relationships between coping styles and service utilization.

n A Cochran's Q test of homogeneity revealed that medical and CFS self-help services were most frequently used and rehabilitation services were least frequently used.
n In terms of service accessibility, 80.9% of participants reported at least one barrier. Lack of financial (including insurance) resources and lack of knowledge about service availability were the two most frequently reported.
n In terms of coping styles, symptom focusing was positively associated with use of CFS self-help services and with use of in-home services and social service agencies.
n Information seeking was negatively associated with use of in-home and social service agencies and with use of mental health services.

Conclusion: These findings can be used by healthcare professionals and advocacy-based organizations to:
n Develop programs focused on mass education campaigns for healthcare providers,
n Increase knowledge of service availability among individuals with CFS,
n Understand relationships between certain types of coping styles and service preferences. Keywords: Chronic fatigue syndrome, service utilization, access, coping

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