The assessment of fatigue: a practical guide for clinicians and researchers

J Psychosom Res. 2004 Feb;56(2):157-70. doi: 10.1016/S0022-3999(03)00371-4.


Objectives: Fatigue is a common feature of physical and neurological disease as well as psychiatric disorders, often reported amongst patients' most severe and distressing symptoms. A large number of scales have been developed attempting to measure the nature, severity and impact of fatigue in a range of clinical populations. The aim of the present review is to guide the clinician and researcher in choosing a scale to suit their needs.

Methods: Database searches of Medline, PsycINFO and EMBASE were undertaken to find published scales.

Results: Details of 30 scales are reported. These vary greatly in how widely they have been used and how well they have been evaluated. The present review describes the scales and their properties and provides illustrations of their use in published studies.

Conclusions: Recommendations are made for the selection of a scale and for the development and validation of new and existing scales.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fatigue / classification
  • Fatigue / diagnosis*
  • Guidelines as Topic / standards
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*