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Predictors of response to treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Richard P. Bentall (a1), Pauline Powell (a2), Fred J. Nye (a2) and Richard H. T. Edwards (a3)
Abstract
Background

Controlled trials have shown that psychological interventions designed to encourage graded exercise can facilitate recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Aims

To identify predictors of response to psychological treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Method

Of 114 patients assigned to equally effective treatment conditions in a randomised, controlled trial, 95 completed follow-up assessments. Relationships between variables measured prior to randomisation and changes in physical functioning and subjective handicap at 1 year were evaluated by multiple regression.

Results

Poor outcome was predicted by membership of a self-help group, being in receipt of sickness benefit at the start of treatment, and dysphoria as measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale. Severity of symptoms and duration of illness were not predictors of response.

Conclusions

Poor outcome in the psychological treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome is predicted by variables that indicate resistance to accepting the therapeutic rationale, poor motivation to treatment adherence or secondary gains from illness.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor Richard Bentall, Department of Psychology, University of Manchester, Coupland 1 Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None. Financial support from the Linbury Trust.

Footnotes
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Predictors of response to treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Richard P. Bentall (a1), Pauline Powell (a2), Fred J. Nye (a2) and Richard H. T. Edwards (a3)
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