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Population based study of fatigue & psychological distress

  [ 15 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • March 19, 1994


OBJECTIVES--To determine the prevalence of fatigue in the general
population and the factors associated with fatigue.

DESIGN--Postal survey.

SETTING--Six general practices in
southern England.

SUBJECTS--31,651 men and women aged 18-45
years registered with the practices.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Responses to the 12 item general health
questionnaire and a fatigue questionnaire which included self
reported measures of duration, severity, and causes of
fatigue.

RESULTS--15,283 valid questionnaires were returned,
giving a response rate of 48.3%, (64% after adjustment for
inaccuracies in the practice registers). 2798 (18.3%) of
respondents reported substantial fatigue lasting six months or
longer. Fatigue and psychological morbidity were moderately
correlated (r = 0.62). Women were more likely to complain of
fatigue than men, even after adjustment for psychological
distress. The commonest cited reasons for fatigue were
psychosocial (40% of patients). Of 2798 patients with
excessive tiredness, only 38 (1.4%) attributed this to the
chronic fatigue syndrome.

CONCLUSION--Fatigue is distributed as a continuous
variable in the community and is closely associated with
psychological morbidity. {MCMStrSt}

Pawlikowska T, Chalder T, Wallace P,Wessely SC, Wright DJ, Hirsch SR




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