By McInnis OA, Matheson K, Anisman H.
Women with CFS/fibromyalgia (n=39), in fact, reported higher depression scores, greater perceived distress and more frequent unsupportive relationships than healthy women (n=55), whereas those with a chronic, but medically accepted illness comprising an autoimmune disorder (lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis) (n=28), displayed intermediate scores. High problem-focused coping was associated with low levels of depression and perceived distress in those with an autoimmune condition. In contrast, although CFS/fibromyalgia was also accompanied by higher depression scores and higher perceived distress, this occurred irrespective of problem-focused coping.
It is suggested that because the veracity of ambiguous illnesses is often questioned, this might represent a potent stressor in women with such illnesses, and even coping methods typically thought to be useful in other conditions, are not associated with diminished distress among those with CFS/fibromyalgia.
Source: McInnis OA, Matheson K, Anisman H. Anxiety Stress Coping. 2014 Jan 30. [Epub ahead of print]