Abstract: Chronic Fatique Syndrome Versus Neuroendocrineimmune Dysfunction Syndrome:Differential Attributions

J Health Soc Policy. 2004;18(1):43-55. Jason LA, Holbert C, Torres-Harding S, Taylor RR, Le Vasseur JJ, Breitinger P, LaBarbera D, Siegel L. Suite 3100, 990 West Fullerton Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60614.

Since 1988, when the term chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) was coined, considerable discussion has occurred about stigma associated with this diagnostic term. In particular, patients with CFS have felt that this term trivializes the serious nature of this disorder. A Name Change Work group, appointed by the CFS Coordinating Committee, developed an umbrella term: chronic neuroendocrineimmune dysfunction syndrome (CNDS), and proposed that there would be sub-types under this term, one being CFS.

The present study examined attributions of this new umbrella term when compared with CFS. Nurses and physician assistants (PAs) were presented a case study of a patient with symptoms of CFS. They were told that the patient had either “chronic fatigue syndrome,” “chronic neuroendocrineimmune dysfunction syndrome,” or “chronic neuroendocrineimmune dysfunction syndrome, which had formerly been called chronic fatigue syndrome.” The different terms led to different attributions, with PA respondents rating the “CNDS” label as more severe. Results suggest that a more medical sounding term (CNDS) may lead to attributions that this syndrome is a more serious, disabling illness. The policy implications of these findings are discussed.

PMID: 15189800 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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