British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 32 Issue 3 (September 1993), Pages 261-388

Quality of attention in chronic fatigue syndrome: Subjective reports of everyday attention and cognitive difficulty, and performance on tasks of focused attention (pages 357-364)

Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as post‐viral fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis) commonly report cognitive difficulties concerning attention, concentration and memory. In this study, patients were compared with matched controls on two questionnaires which assess subjective difficulties with attention and general cognitive functioning, and on two tasks requiring focused attention. Patients reported significantly greater difficulty with attention on the Everyday Attention Questionnaire and more cognitive symptoms on the Profile of Fatigue‐Related Symptoms. The objective tests did not clearly indicate a deficit in patients' focused attention; patients tended to perform less well on the Embedded Figures Test and the Stroop Colour‐Word Interference Test, but these differences were not significant. There was, however, evidence of psychomotor retardation, with patients having longer response times for word reading and colour naming in the Stroop test. Difficulties in interpreting findings for both subjective and objective cognitive measures are discussed.

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