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Psychosocial and Physical Impact of Chronic Fatigue in a Community-Based Sample of Children and Adolescents

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By Susan R. Torres-Harding, et al • • September 20, 2006

Journal: Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Volume: 13, Issue: 2/3, Cover Date: 2006 Authors: Susan R. Torres-Harding, Karen Jordan, Leonard A. Jason PhD, Renee Arias DOI: 10.1300/J092v13n02_03 [in prepress, abstract online] Background: Few studies have examined the problem of chronic fatigue in children and adolescents and its potential impact on functioning. Chronic fatigue may have a negative impact on school functioning, family activities, psychological well-being, physical functioning, and severity of medical symptomatology. Objectives: This study compared psychosocial, family, and physical functioning between a randomly selected community based sample of 36 children and adolescents with chronic fatigue and a group of 21 children and adolescents without fatigue. Methods: Children and parents completed a comprehensive medical history questionnaire and questionnaires assessing psychological functioning, family functioning, and school attendance. Results: Results indicated that children with chronic fatigue tended to have more difficulties in overall physical and psychological functioning, as measured by the Child Health Questionnaire and the Child Behavior Checklist. In addition, children in the chronic fatigue group experienced disruptions in a range of activities and reported more severe physical symptomatology when compared to children without fatigue. Conclusions: Findings suggest that children and adolescents with chronic fatigue may have a range of associated difficulties, including limitations in physical and psychosocial functioning and a negative impact on the ability to engage in normative activities. Keywords: Chronic fatigue, children, adolescents, psychosocial functioning, physical functioning

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