To explore how individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) describe their fatigue experience and examine how this differs from descriptions of fatigue in healthy controls.
Methods: 52 individuals with CFS and 27 controls listed words that described their fatigue. These words were grouped into 18 categories.
Individuals with CFS used more categories to describe their fatigue and more descriptors within each category.
The most popular category used by both groups was energy depletion/physical weakness.
CFS participants also experienced their fatigue as limiting their ability to function, frustrating, permanent/ persistent, out of their control, depressing, and pervading all aspects of their lives.
Controls reported that when they experienced fatigue, it was temporary, and they felt unmotivated, sleepy, and comfortable.
Conclusion: The multidimensional descriptive pattern characterizing the fatigue of individuals with CFS differs dramatically from the experienced fatigue of healthy individuals, suggesting their "language of fatigue" has a distinctive quality.
Source: Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Vol 14 #3, 2007. (Prepublication) DOI: 10.1300/, by Libman E, Creti L, Rizzo D, Jastremski M, Bailes S, Fichten CS