Screening for psychiatric morbidity in subjects presenting with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

BACKGROUND. There is a need for a valid self-rating questionnaire to

screen for psychiatric morbidity in patients with chronic

fatigue syndrome (CFS). This study had the aim of assessing

the utility and validity of two commonly used measures.

METHOD. Scores obtained on the General Health Questionnaire

(GHQ) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were compared

with various diagnostic and severity ratings obtained via a

validating clinical interview, the Schedules for the Clinical

Assessment of Neuropsychiatry (SCAN) in 95 consecutively

referred subjects at a medical out-patient clinic who

fulfilled standard criteria for CFS, and 48 healthy controls.

Outcome measures were validating coefficients and receiver

operating characteristics (ROC) for different thresholds and

scoring on GHQ and BDI and index of definition (ID) as

measured by SCAN; and Pearson and point by serial correlation

coefficients for different diagnostic groups derived via SCAN

and defined according to ICD-10 and DSM-III-R.


and BDI perform poorly as screeners of psychiatric morbidity

in CFS subjects when compared with various SCAN derived

ratings although results for controls are comparable with

other studies.

CONCLUSIONS. Neither the GHQ nor BDI alone can

be recommended as screeners for psychiatric morbidity in CFS


Farmer A, Chubb H, Jones I, Hillier J, Smith A, Borysiewicz L

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