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Patterns of utilization of medical care & perceptions of the relationship between doctor & patient with chronic illness including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

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By Twemlow SW, Bradshaw SL Jr, Coyne L, Lerma BH • www.ProHealth.com • April 12, 1997


To what extent do personal constructs affect the relationship
between doctor and patient when the ill patient does not
readily recover with treatment? Questionnaires were returned
anonymously by 609 patients with a self-reported diagnosis of
chronic fatigue syndrome, who were considered chronically
ill. Findings were compared with those of an earlier study of
a population of 397 general medical patients. The chronically
ill patients lost an average of 65 days of work per year due
to illness compared to general medical patients who missed six
or fewer days per year because they were ill. The chronically
ill patients also reported a 66% higher frequency of
iatrogenic illness, spent more money on health care, took
more medication, saw more specialists, and were more
litigious than the general medical population. Research
suggested several patterns of relationships between doctors
and patients, and attitudes to health and illness, which may
alert doctors to patients' perceptions, beliefs, encoded
constructs, and patterns of relating that affect responses to
treatment. More attention by doctors to patients who are
experiencing the stress of chronic illness is indicated.




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