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Diagnosis of chronic fatigue in children: behavioral & emotional dimensions

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By Carter BD, Kronenberger WG, Edwards JF, Michalczyk L, Marshall GS • www.ProHealth.com • February 10, 1996


A battery of self-report questionnaires and structured diagnostic
interviews was administered to 20 children and adolescents who
presented to a pediatric specialty clinic with chronic
fatigue. Matched groups of healthy and depressed control
subjects (aged 8 to 19 years) were also studied. Criteria were
established to identify those items in the assessment battery
that reliably differentiated among the three groups. Analysis
of item content suggested several clusters of characteristics
that discriminated among the subject groups, including life
changes, cognitive difficulties, negative self-attributions,
social relationship disruption, and somatic symptom
presentation. The results suggest that certain psychological
factors can discriminate chronic fatigue from depressive
symptomatology, as well as normal functioning. Items
discriminating among groups are presented in an organized
questionnaire format to assist with the understanding and
assessment of pediatric chronic fatigue cases.

MCM: Authors note the difficulty in applying CDC criteria to
children. These cases do not meet the CDC criteria.




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