Exploring the validity of the Chalder Fatigue scale in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

The Chalder fatigue scale is widely used to measure physical and

mental fatigue in chronic fatigue syndrome patients, but the

constructs of the scale have not been examined in this patient

sample. We examined the constructs of the 14-item fatigue

scale in a sample of 136 chronic fatigue syndrome patients

through principal components analysis, followed by

correlations with measures of subjective and objective

cognitive performance, physiological measures of strength and

functional work capacity, depression, anxiety, and subjective

sleep difficulties. There were four factors of fatigue

explaining 67% of the total variance. Factor 1 was correlated

with subjective everyday cognitive difficulties, concentration

difficulties, and a deficit in paired associate learning.

Factor 2 was correlated with difficulties in maintaining

sleep. Factor 3 was inversely correlated with grip strength,

peak VO2, peak heart rate, and peak functional work capacity.

Factor 4 was correlated with interview and self-rated measures

of depression. The results support the validity of mental and

physical fatigue subscales and the dropping of the “loss of

interest” item in the 11-item version of the fatigue scale.

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