Depressed fibromyalgia (FM) patients are equipped with an emphatic competence dependent self-esteem

Employing a recently developed questionnaire we studied the
self-esteem structure of 61 female fibromyalgia (FM) patients
by comparing them with i) 40 healthy psychology students and
ii) 37 patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Depressed
FM patients (n=36) had a high need to gain self-esteem through
competence and others' approval combined with a low basic
sense of self-esteem.

In this regard they differed significantly from the healthy controls
who had a more equal amount of the two types of self-esteem. These
patients had also a more demanding and "hard-driving" self-esteem
structure than either control group and exhibited a lower
self-assertiveness and less emotional candour than the healthy
controls. The non-depressed FM patients did not display this
self-esteem pattern. In conclusion, FM patients are probably
not a homogeneous group. Furthermore, we suggest that an
emphatic competence- dependent self-esteem is one
vulnerability factor which, in proper genetic and
environmental conditions, increases susceptibility to
fibromyalgia and depression.

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