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Pain in people with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis: The role of traumatic stress and coping strategies

Krzeczkowska, Anna; Karatzias, Thanos; Dickson, Adele


Anna Krzeczkowska

Adele Dickson


Pain is a significant problem for many people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). This exploratory study investigated the extent to which severity of pain was related to coping strategies and post-traumatic symptomatology in people with CFS/ME. Participants comprised 27 individuals with CFS/ME and 27 healthy controls. All participants completed the CFS/ME Symptom Questionnaire, the brief pain inventory, the impact of event scale-revised and the brief-COPE. It was found that CFS/ME participants present with significantly more post-traumatic stress symptoms and report significantly less emotion focused strategies and problem focused coping strategies compared with healthy controls. Severity of pain in the CFS/ME subgroup was not associated with traumatic symptomatology, although those with severe pain reported less use of self-distraction, positive re-framing and acceptance than those with mild pain. Our results suggest that the enhancement of certain coping strategies (facilitated by psychological interventions such as acceptance and commitment therapy) may be beneficial in alleviating pain in people with CFS/ME.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 29, 2014
Online Publication Date Sep 2, 2014
Publication Date 2015
Deposit Date Sep 8, 2014
Print ISSN 1354-8506
Electronic ISSN 1465-3966
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 2
Pages 210-216
Keywords chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, coping, pain, traumatic stress
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