Abstract: Perception of cognitive performance in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

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Source: Ann Behav Med 2002 Spring;24(2):106-12  Metzger FA, Denney DR.  Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence 66045-7556.

This study examined discrepancies between perceived and actual performance by patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) confronted with a challenging cognitive task. Before and after completing a modified version of the Stroop task, 40 patients and 40 healthy control participants estimated their own performance and the performance that would normally be achieved by someone of equal age and education level.

After correcting for differences between the groups in depression, we found no differences in actual performance on the Stroop. However, patients with CFS consistently underestimated their performance relative to normal performance. This difference was observed for both depressed and nondepressed subgroups of patients, persisted after adjusting the results for depression, and correlated with patients' ratings of the mental effort and fatigue evoked by the task.

The results are discussed in light of cognitive models of CFS that suggest the setting of impossibly high standards of personal performance may contribute to the dynamism of this disease.

PMID: 12054315 [PubMed – in process]