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Fatigue in selected primary care settings: sociodemographic & psychiatric correlates

  [ 44 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • May 20, 1996

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence and sociodemographic
and psychiatric correlates of prolonged fatigue syndromes
among patients in primary care.
DESIGN: Prospective
questionnaire survey.
years attending three general practices in metropolitan
Sydney and one on the Central Coast, north of Sydney.
RESULTS: Of 1593 patients, 25% had prolonged fatigue, while
37% had psychological disorder. Of the patients with fatigue,
70% had both fatigue and psychological disorder, while 30%
had fatigue only. The factors associated with prolonged
fatigue were concurrent psychological disorder, female
gender, lower socioeconomic status and fewer total years of
education. Patients with fatigue were more likely to have a
current depressive disorder.
fatigue/neurasthenia syndromes are common in Australian
primary care settings, and are commonly associated with
current depressive disorders. Such syndromes, however, do not
fit readily into current international psychiatric
classification systems.

MCM: Of 1593 pts in Sydney general practices sent
questionnaires, 25% had prolonged fatigue (based on the
Schedule of Fatigue and Anergia) (70% of these had
psychological disorder). 37% of all pts had psychological
disorder (based on outcome of the General Health Questionnaire
CHQ). Factors associated with fatigue included psychological
disorder, female gender, lower socioeconmic starus, and fewer
years of education. "Patients with chronic fatigue syndromes
do not fit easily into the international psychiatric
classification systems. We support the recognition of an
independent "chronic fatigue/neurasthenia" concept, with its
own clinical, epidemiological and longitudinal profile
requiring investigation and treatment as a discrete disorder."

Hickie IB, Hooker AW, Hadzi-Pavlovic D, Bennett BK, Wilson AJ, Lloyd

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