Subjective quality of life in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

Qual Life Res. 2005 Feb;14(1):11-9. doi: 10.1007/s11136-004-1693-y.


The aim of this study was to (1) assess Subjective Quality of Life (SQOL) of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) using a generic concept and to compare the findings with those in groups with mental disorders and healthy subjects, and (2) investigate whether and, if so, to what extent socio-demographic and clinical variables predict SQOL in CFS patients. Seventy-three patients diagnosed with CFS were randomly selected and interviewed from two specialised clinics. CFS was diagnosed using the Oxford Criteria. SQOL was assessed on the Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life (MANSA) and Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) on the Medical Outcome Study Short-Form 36 (MOS) SF-36. A battery of mood and symptom questionnaires, including the Symptom Checklist Questionnaire (SCL-90-R), was administered to assess various aspects of symptomatology as potential predictor variables. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to identify predictors of SQOL. Overall, SQOL was low in CFS patients and less favourable than in groups with mental disorders and healthy subjects. Satisfaction was particularly low with life as a whole, leisure activities and financial situation. Whilst SQOL was only moderately correlated with HRQOL, the SCL-90-R score, especially SCL-90-R Depression scale score, was the best predictor of SQOL explaining 35% of the variance. HRQOL and generic SQOL appear distinct despite some overlap. The findings underline that SQOL is significantly disrupted in CFS patients. Depressive symptoms are statistically the strongest 'predictor' of SQOL, although the direction of the relationship is not established. These data suggest that treatment of depression associated with CFS, regardless of causation, could help to improve SQOL in CFS patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom