Chronic fatigue syndrome: symptoms, appraisal and ways of coping

Christina Knussen, Deborah Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate the contributions of measures of appraisal and ways of coping (relative scoring) to two clusters of symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS; fatigue and emotional disturbance), using multiple regression analysis.Design: A cross-sectional design was employed within a framework provided by the Lazarus & Folkman model of stress.Methods: Participants (N = 81) were drawn from CFS support groups. Self-report questionnaires were used, including measures of symptoms (Ray, Weir, Phillips & Cullen, 1992), ways of coping with CFS (Ray, Weir, Stewart, Miller & Hyde, 1993), and appraisal of the illness (Browne et al., 1988).Results: When symptoms of emotional disturbance were controlled, those experiencing more symptoms of fatigue were more likely to perceive CFS to be stressful, were less likely to feel that they could do anything about the illness, and were relatively more likely to cope through seeking information. Those experiencing more symptoms of emotional disturbance were less likely to have an optimistic outlook and were less likely to attempt to cope by accommodating to the illness, irrespective of symptoms of fatigue.Conclusions: The results confirmed the utility of the Lazarus & Folkman model of stress within this domain. The use of relative coping scores clarified the potential importance of accommodating to the illness. Overall, the results underlined the need to further develop measures and methodologies in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-121
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1998


  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • multiple regression analysis
  • model of stress
  • emotional disturbance


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