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Coping & adaptive outcome in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): importance of illness cognitions

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By Heijmans MJ • www.ProHealth.com • July 6, 1998


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.




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