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Abstract: Does psychological vulnerability determine health-care utilization in fibromyalgia?

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2003 Jun 16 [Epub ahead of print].  Dobkin PL, De Civita M, Bernatsky S, Kang H, Baron M.  Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, Canada; Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

OBJECTIVES: Patients with fibromyalgia (FM) undergo multiple testing and referral to specialists, and often use complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) services. The objectives of the study were: (i) to document health service utilization, and (ii) to examine whether psychological vulnerability was associated with visits to physicians and CAM providers.

METHODS: Women (N = 178) with a diagnosis of primary FM completed a psychosocial test measuring pain, perceived stress, global psychological distress, sexual abuse history, co-morbidity and disability due to FM. Subjects also completed a health services questionnaire, documenting visits to physicians and CAM providers during the previous 6 months. Psychological vulnerability was operationalized as obtaining high scores on psychological distress, perceived stress and reporting at least one abusive event.

RESULTS: The average number of visits was 7.2 to physicians and 11.3 to CAM providers.

CONCLUSIONS: The number of physician visits was significantly associated with more co-morbidity. Psychologically vulnerable subjects were more likely to use CAM services than those not so classified.

PMID: 12810928 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]