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CFS/WED/01 ANXIETY IN CHILDREN WITH CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME/MYALGIC ENCEPHALOMYELITIS

1E Crawley, 1L Hunt, 2P Stallard. 1Bristol University, Bristol, UK; 2Bath University, Bath, UK

Aims: To investigate the type of anxiety experienced by children with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis(CFS/ME) and the relationship of anxiety with disease severity.

Methods: The Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale (SCAS) was prospectively collected on all children (aged 7–17 years) assessed in a regional specialist CFS/ME service between April 2005 and June 2007. The SCAS measures generalised anxiety, separation anxiety, social phobia, panic-agarophobic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and physical injury fears. The cut-off level is taken as the 90th percentile on normative data and varies with age. One-sample binomial tests were used to compare percentages of the CFS/ME children with expected percentages from normative data. Spearmans correlation was used to evaluate the relationship between anxiety and disease severity.

View this table:
Abstract CFS/WED/01 Table Percentage of girls above the cut-off level for each anxiety subtype

Results: The SCAS was completed on 116 children. Mean age was 13.5 years (range 7.2–17.5); 70% were female. Analysis was carried out separately on children aged 7–12 years (N  =  45, 28 female) compared with those aged 13–17 years (N  =  95, 66 female). Anxiety scores were higher than expected for all anxiety subtypes in girls and for the social phobia domain in boys. However, the difference was only statistically significant for girls (see table). Total anxiety correlated strongly with fatigue (correlation coefficient 0.18) but not with disability or time to diagnosis. Anxiety was inversely correlated with school attendance.

Conclusion: Children who access a specialist CFS/ME service have very high levels of anxiety compared with normal controls. The age effects noted in previous studies, namely that anxiety decreases as children get older, were not noted in this study. Anxiety was correlated strongly with fatigue but it is not known what the direction of causality is.

CFS/WED/02 MEMORY AND ATTENTION PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN WITH CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME/MYALGIC ENCEPHALOMYELITIS

1A Haig-Ferguson, 2P Tucker, 1N Eaton, …

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