Gender differences in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether there are differences between men

and women patients who have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

and, if so, to ascertain whether a gender-related pattern


DESIGN: A descriptive study of demographic, clinical,

and psychosocial measures, the results of which were

prospectively collected for patients who had CFS.


university-based referral clinic devoted to the evaluation and

management of chronic fatigue.

PATIENTS: 348 CFS patients who

had undergone complete medical evaluations.

MEASURES: Clinical

variables included symptoms, physical examination findings,

and laboratory results. Psychosocial assessment consisted of a

structured psychiatric interview, the Medical Outcomes Study

Short-form General Health Survey to assess functional status,

the General Health Questionnaire to ascertain psychological

distress, the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control, and

measures of attribution, social support, and coping.


RESULTS: Overall, few gender-related differences were

identified. Women had a higher frequency of tender or enlarged

lymph nodes (60% versus 33%, p < or = 0.01) and fibromyalgia

(36% versus 12%, p < or = 0.001) and lower scores on the

physical functioning subscale of the Medical Outcomes Study

Short-form General Health Survey (37.6 versus 52.2, p < 0.01);

men more often had pharyngeal inflammation (42% versus 22%, p

< or = 0.001) and reported a higher lifetime prevalence of

alcoholism (20% versus 9%, p < or = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: In general, demographic, clinical, and

psychosocial factors do not distinguish men from women CFS


Buchwald D, Pearlman T, Kith P, Schmaling K

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