Psychosocial correlates of illness burden in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

We related reported physical symptoms, cognitive appraisals
(e.g., negative style of thinking), and coping strategies
(e.g., denial/disengagement strategies) with illness burden
across several functional domains separately in subsets of
chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients with (n = 26) and
without (n = 39) concurrently diagnosed major depressive
disorder (MDD).

In regard to cognitive appraisal measures, automatic
thoughts and dysfunctional attitudes were strongly
associated with a higher illness burden, as indicated in
sickness impact profile (SIP) scores. Active-involvement
coping strategies measured on COPE scales (active coping,
planning, and positive reinterpretation and growth) were not
associated with SIP scores, while other coping strategies
(mental disengagement, behavioral disengagement, and denial)
were positively correlated with psychosocial and physical SIP
scales, especially those pertaining to interpersonal
life-style arenas.

After we accounted for the number of different CFS-specific
physical complaints reported and DSM-III-R depression
diagnosis status, cognitive appraisals and coping
strategies predicted a substantial proportion of the
variance in the severity of illness burden. For the most
part, the magnitude of these relationships between our
predictor model variables and illness burden severity was
similar in the MDD and non-MDD subgroups.

Antoni MH, Brickman A, Lutgendorf S, Klimas N, Imia-Fins A, Ironson
G, Quillian R, Miguez MJ, van Riel F, Morgan R, et al

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