Abstract: Employment status in chronic fatigue syndrome. A cross-sectional study examining the value of exercise testing and self-reported measures for the assessment of employment status

Clin Rehabil. 2005 Dec;19(8):895-9.

Nijs J, Van de Putte K, Louckx F, De Meirleir K.

Department of Human Physiology, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. Jo.Nijs@vub.ac.be

OBJECTIVE: To examine the value of exercise testing and self-reported disability for the assessment of employment status in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional observational study.

SETTING: A university-based chronic fatigue clinic.

SUBJECTS: Fifty-four consecutive, Flemish, employed (not self-employed) chronic fatigue syndrome patients (49/54 female).

INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants were questioned about their current and premorbid employment status, filled in the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Activities and Participation Questionnaire (CFS-APQ), the Medical Outcomes Short Form 36 Health Status Survey (SF-36), and performed a maximal exercise test on a bicycle ergometer with continuous monitoring of cardiorespiratory variables.

RESULTS: A significant association was observed between the current employment rate and two SF-36 subscales (i.e., role limitations due to physical functioning and social functioning; rho = 0.39 and 0.35 respectively) (n = 54). Analysing only the female chronic fatigue syndrome patients (n = 49), the current employment rate correlated significantly with the peak workload (rho = 0.38).

CONCLUSIONS: The associations between either exercise testing or self-reported disability and employment status are too weak to predict employment status.

PMID: 16323389 [PubMed – in process]

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