Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 74 Issue 4 (December 2001), Pages 419-553

Fatigue and patterns of pain in fibromyalgia: Correlations with anxiety, depression and co‐morbidity in a female county sample (pages 523-537)

This study explored the prevalence of fibromyalgia, the relationship of anxiety and depression with two major symptoms (pain and fatigue), and the role of co‐morbidity. Participants were recruited from the Nord‐Trøndelag Health Study (The HUNT Study) in Norway (N = 92 936). They were females given the diagnosis of fibromyalgia by their doctor (N = 1 816), divided into one sample without (N = 977) and another with (N = 839) co‐morbidity. Owing to colinearity between anxiety and depression, extreme groups were defined according to high vs. low anxiety and depression scores. About four‐fifths of the initial sample were excluded by this approach, which permitted a two × two factorial split‐plot ANCOVA for the assessment of the relations of anxiety and depression with pain and fatigue. The overall prevalence was 3.2%, which obscured a highly biased sex difference with 5.2% for females and .9% for males. Results from the sample without co‐morbidity (N = 977) supported the idea of independent partial correlations of anxiety and depression with pain and fatigue. A different trend was indicated in the co‐morbidity sample (N = 839) where fatigue was only significantly associated with depression, whereas pain was associated with anxiety. The idea of widespread pain was supported consistently only in participants without co‐morbidity who scored low on anxiety. Age, incident pain and depression contributed to a discriminant function reflecting the status of co‐morbidity.

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