Documenting job loss with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Those persons with CFS who are able to keep their jobs typically devise means of hiding or working around their condition, a researcher at Harvard Medical School reported. The study examined the “role constriction [that] works to push chronically ill persons out of the work force and away from the social mainstream.” Of the 50 subjects who held jobs at the onset of their illness, 25 had become unemployed. The working subjects had devised ways to resist role constriction. Some strove to appear well by dressing up and wearing extra makeup or avoiding office events that could reveal their impairments. Some conserved energy for their jobs by using free time to rest, time that otherwise would be dedicated to family and friends. Others worked less, doing easier tasks and eliminating travel. The researcher, Norma Ware, PhD, said businesses could help persons with CFS balance work and their illness by creating a flexible schedule that would allow people to take breaks, rearrange their tasks and work from home when necessary.

Ware, N. (1998). Sociosomatics and illness course in chronic fatigue syndrome. Psychosomatic Medicine, 60, 394–401.

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