Premorbid "overactive" lifestyle in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. An etiological factor or proof of good citizenship?

J Psychosom Res. 2001 Oct;51(4):571-6. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(01)00247-1.


Objective: In a former study, we have shown that patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or chronic pain, when questioned about their premorbid lifestyle, reported a high level of "action-proneness" as compared to control groups. The aim of the present study was to control for the patients' possible idealisation of their previous attitude towards action.

Methods: A validated Dutch self-report questionnaire measuring "action-proneness" (the HAB) was completed by 62 randomly selected tertiary care CFS and fibromyalgia (FM) patients, as well as by their significant others (SOs).

Results: HAB scores of the patients and those of the SOs were very similar and significantly higher than the norm values. Whether or not the SO showed sympathy for the patient's illness did not influence the results to a great extent. SOs with a negative attitude towards the illness even characterized the patients as more "action-prone."

Conclusions: These results provide further support for the hypothesis that a high level of "action-proneness" may play a predisposing, initiating and/or perpetuating role in CFS and FM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Defense Mechanisms*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / psychology*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / diagnosis
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Assessment
  • Self-Assessment
  • Sick Role