Fatigue in selected primary care settings: sociodemographic & psychiatric correlates

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence and sociodemographic

and psychiatric correlates of prolonged fatigue syndromes

among patients in primary care.

DESIGN: Prospective

questionnaire survey.


years attending three general practices in metropolitan

Sydney and one on the Central Coast, north of Sydney.

RESULTS: Of 1593 patients, 25% had prolonged fatigue, while

37% had psychological disorder. Of the patients with fatigue,

70% had both fatigue and psychological disorder, while 30%

had fatigue only. The factors associated with prolonged

fatigue were concurrent psychological disorder, female

gender, lower socioeconomic status and fewer total years of

education. Patients with fatigue were more likely to have a

current depressive disorder.


fatigue/neurasthenia syndromes are common in Australian

primary care settings, and are commonly associated with

current depressive disorders. Such syndromes, however, do not

fit readily into current international psychiatric

classification systems.

MCM: Of 1593 pts in Sydney general practices sent

questionnaires, 25% had prolonged fatigue (based on the

Schedule of Fatigue and Anergia) (70% of these had

psychological disorder). 37% of all pts had psychological

disorder (based on outcome of the General Health Questionnaire

CHQ). Factors associated with fatigue included psychological

disorder, female gender, lower socioeconmic starus, and fewer

years of education. “Patients with chronic fatigue syndromes

do not fit easily into the international psychiatric

classification systems. We support the recognition of an

independent “chronic fatigue/neurasthenia” concept, with its

own clinical, epidemiological and longitudinal profile

requiring investigation and treatment as a discrete disorder.”

Hickie IB, Hooker AW, Hadzi-Pavlovic D, Bennett BK, Wilson AJ, Lloyd


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