Aims: To assess the relation between fatigue and somatic symptoms in healthy adolescents and adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy (CFS/ME).
Methods: Seventy two adolescents with CFS were compared within a cross-sectional study design with 167 healthy controls. Fatigue and somatic complaints were measured using self-report questionnaires, respectively the subscale subjective fatigue of the Checklist Individual Strength (CIS-20) and the Children’s Somatization Inventory.
Results: Healthy adolescents reported the same somatic symptoms as adolescents with CFS/ME, but with a lower score of severity. The top 10 somatic complaints were the same: low energy, headache, heaviness in arms/legs, dizziness, sore muscles, hot/cold spells, weakness in body parts, pain in joints, nausea/upset stomach, back pain. There was a clear positive relation between log somatic symptoms and fatigue (linear regression coefficient: 0.041 points log somatic complaints per score point fatigue, 95% CI 0.033 to 0.049) which did not depend on disease status.
Conclusions: Results suggest a continuum with a gradual transition from fatigue with associated symptoms in healthy adolescents to the symptom complex of CFS/ME.
- CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- CFS, chronic fatigue syndrome
- CIS-20, Children’s Somatization Inventory
- ME, myalgic encephalopathy
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- somatic complaints
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Published Online First 5 June 2006
Competing interests: none declared
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