Attributions, distress and behavioral responses in the significant others of people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
– Source: Journal of Health Psychology, Nov 23, 2012
By Joanna Brooks, et al.
[Note: Lead author Dr. Joanna Brooks specializes in the study of chronic illness (e.g., cancer, chronic back pain, CFS) and the family, including family members’ beliefs about the patient’s illness experience, and impact on all.]
To test an attribution-emotion model of reactions to chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, 30 significant others of 30 adult patients with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis were administered a semi-structured interview about their beliefs regarding the patient’s illness and completed questionnaire measures of distress and behavioral responses to the patient.
Spontaneous causal explanations (attributions) for illness events, symptom exacerbation and negative patient mood were extracted and coded.
Significant others’ distress and negative behavioral responses towards the chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis patient were associated with attributing illness events to causes personal and internal to the patient.
Our findings may inform the future family-based interventions for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis.