Diagnosis of chronic fatigue in children: behavioral & emotional dimensions

A battery of self-report questionnaires and structured diagnostic

interviews was administered to 20 children and adolescents who

presented to a pediatric specialty clinic with chronic

fatigue. Matched groups of healthy and depressed control

subjects (aged 8 to 19 years) were also studied. Criteria were

established to identify those items in the assessment battery

that reliably differentiated among the three groups. Analysis

of item content suggested several clusters of characteristics

that discriminated among the subject groups, including life

changes, cognitive difficulties, negative self-attributions,

social relationship disruption, and somatic symptom

presentation. The results suggest that certain psychological

factors can discriminate chronic fatigue from depressive

symptomatology, as well as normal functioning. Items

discriminating among groups are presented in an organized

questionnaire format to assist with the understanding and

assessment of pediatric chronic fatigue cases.

MCM: Authors note the difficulty in applying CDC criteria to

children. These cases do not meet the CDC criteria.

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