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Screening for psychiatric morbidity in subjects presenting with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  [ 59 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • March 20, 1996

BACKGROUND. There is a need for a valid self-rating questionnaire to
screen for psychiatric morbidity in patients with chronic
fatigue syndrome (CFS). This study had the aim of assessing
the utility and validity of two commonly used measures.
METHOD. Scores obtained on the General Health Questionnaire
(GHQ) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were compared
with various diagnostic and severity ratings obtained via a
validating clinical interview, the Schedules for the Clinical
Assessment of Neuropsychiatry (SCAN) in 95 consecutively
referred subjects at a medical out-patient clinic who
fulfilled standard criteria for CFS, and 48 healthy controls.
Outcome measures were validating coefficients and receiver
operating characteristics (ROC) for different thresholds and
scoring on GHQ and BDI and index of definition (ID) as
measured by SCAN; and Pearson and point by serial correlation
coefficients for different diagnostic groups derived via SCAN
and defined according to ICD-10 and DSM-III-R.
and BDI perform poorly as screeners of psychiatric morbidity
in CFS subjects when compared with various SCAN derived
ratings although results for controls are comparable with
other studies.
CONCLUSIONS. Neither the GHQ nor BDI alone can
be recommended as screeners for psychiatric morbidity in CFS

Farmer A, Chubb H, Jones I, Hillier J, Smith A, Borysiewicz L

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