Chronic fatigue syndrome: occupation, medical utilization, and subtypes in a community-based sample.

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Most studies of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have been based on patients recruited from primary or tertiary care settings. Patients from such settings might not be typical of patients in the general population. The present investigation involved examining individuals with CFS from a community-based study. A random sample of 18,675 respondents in Chicago was first interviewed by telephone. A group of individuals with chronic fatigue accompanied by at least four minor symptoms associated with CFS were given medical and psychiatric examinations. From this sample, a physician review group diagnosed individuals with CFS. Those diagnosed with CFS were subclassified based on a variety of categories, including duration of illness, mode of illness onset, and presence or absence of a stressful life event directly preceding onset. In addition, we examined medical utilization among those diagnosed with CFS, as well as whether individuals with CFS were disproportionately represented in health care professions. Important differences emerged on measures of sociodemographics, symptoms, and functional disability. The implications of these findings and others are discussed.

J Nerv Ment Dis 2000 Sep;188(9):568-76 Related Articles, Books

Jason LA, Taylor RR, Kennedy CL, Song S, Johnson D, Torres S

Department of Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois 60614, USA.