Depression in fatiguing illness: comparing patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), multiple sclerosis & depression

Because depression is commonly observed in the chronic fatigue

syndrome (CFS), the present study sought to determine whether

the symptom pattern is similar to that seen in clinically

depressed subjects (DEP). Individuals with multiple sclerosis

(MS) were chosen as an additional comparison group because MS

is a fatiguing illness of known organic etiology. The Beck

Depression Inventory (BDI) was used to compare categories of

depressive symptomatology. Absolute scores on the BDI were

higher for the depressed group on mood and self-reproach

symptoms, but were not higher than the CFS group on somatic

and vegetative items. Analysis of symptoms as a percentage of

total BDI score revealed no significant differences in mood

or vegetative items among the three groups. The CFS and MS

groups exhibited a significantly lower percentage of

self-reproach symptoms than DEP, whereas the DEP group showed

a lower percentage of somatic symptoms than the CFS and MS


Johnson SK, DeLuca J, Natelson BH

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