Beyond myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) symptom severity: Stress management skills are related to lower illness burden

Emily G. Lattie, Michael H. Antoni, Mary Ann Fletcher, Sara Czaja, Dolores Perdomo, Andreina Sala, Sankaran Nair, Shih Hua Fu, Frank J. Penedo, Nancy Klimas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The onset of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) typically involves reductions in activities of daily living and social interactions (jointly referred to as "illness burden"). Emotional distress has been linked to increased reported symptoms, and stress management skills have been related to lower fatigue severity in CFS patients. Symptom severity and illness burden are highly correlated. The ability to manage stress may attenuate this relationship, allowing individuals to feel less burdened by the illness independent of the severity of their symptoms. Purpose: This study aimed to evaluate if perceived stress management skills affect illness burden via emotional distress, independent of ME/CFS symptom severity. Methods: A total of 117 adults with ME/CFS completed measures of perceived stress management skills, emotional distress, ME/CFS symptom severity, and illness burden. Results: Regression analyses revealed that greater perceived stress management skills related to less social and fatigue-related illness burden, via lower emotional distress. This relationship existed independent of the association of symptom severity on illness burden, and was stronger among those not currently employed. Conclusions: Ability to manage stress is associated with a lower illness burden for individuals with ME/CFS. Future studies should evaluate the efficacy of psychosocial interventions in lowering illness burden by targeting stress management skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-222
Number of pages13
JournalFatigue: Biomedicine, Health and Behavior
Volume1
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2013

Keywords

  • emotional distress
  • illness burden
  • myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome
  • stress management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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