Measurements of Recovery and Predictors of Outcome in an Untreated Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Sample

Journal of Health and Medical Sciences

ISSN 2622-7258

Published: 22 April 2019

Measurements of Recovery and Predictors of Outcome in an Untreated Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Sample

Marie Thomas, Andrew P. Smith

Bath Spa University, Cardiff University, UK

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10.31014/aior.1994.02.02.33

Pages: 167-178

Keywords: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Improvement, Predictors of outcome, Recovery

Abstract

The current study examined a large cohort of untreated Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients at initial assessment and at specific time points over a three-year period. Methods used in previous studies to assess patient health, were validated and used to assess recovery and improvement. Possible predictors of outcome would then be identified by assessing improvements in health status at specific follow-up points. The illness was also assessed in terms of recovery and improvement by using health related and psychosocial measures together with the aetiology of the illness. These were further used to investigate possible mechanisms influencing or predicting recovery or improvement. Two-hundred and twenty-six patients completed wide ranging questionnaires at initial assessment and again six and eighteen months and three years later. A current state of health score was used to measure recovery over time and analyses conducted to investigate the relationship between this and other health related measures. Regression analyses were conducted to assess predictors of improvement and recovery. Spontaneous recovery rates in the untreated patient at three-year follow-up were low (6%). The data suggested, however, that illness length, symptom severity and health status have an important role in recovery. Although there was no evidence to suggest an association between illness onset type and subsequent recovery or psychopathology scores at initial assessment and recovery, regression analyses did indicate that levels of anxiety, cognitive difficulties and social support at initial assessment predict a positive outcome. The state of health measure was validated as a method of accurately assessed the health status of patients and was used as an indicator of improvement and recovery within this group. Spontaneous recovery in the patient group was associated with several factors measured at initial assessment. However, further studies are necessary to more fully identify the factors which affect recovery or improvement and to investigate the exact nature of the mechanisms involved. The present study shows that spontaneous recovery of CFS patients is rare. Treatment or management is essential, and the efficacy of different approaches must be assessed.

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