Risk factors for fibromyalgia: the role of violence against women

Clin Rheumatol. 2009 Jul;28(7):777-86. doi: 10.1007/s10067-009-1147-6. Epub 2009 Mar 10.


The objectives of the study were to analyse the association between fibromyalgia (FM) and violence against women and to explore the association between FM and sociodemographic factors, social support and psychological distress. A case-control study was conducted in a Spanish hospital. Cases were women diagnosed with FM, with no signs of any other type of inflammatory rheumatic disorder, who were seen at the Rheumatology Department of the hospital. Controls were women not diagnosed with FM who were seen at the Ear, Nose and Throat Department of the same hospital. A self-administered anonymous questionnaire was used to gather data on sociodemographic characteristics, violence, social support and psychological distress. Uni-, bi- and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted; 287 cases and 287 controls were recruited. The multivariate analysis showed that the probability of presenting FM increased with age (odds ratios (OR) = 1.06; CI95% = 1.03-1.09); that employed women and housewives were more likely to have the syndrome than unemployed women or students (OR = 4.97; CI95% = 1.45-17.02, and OR = 3.47; CI95% = 0.98-12.22, respectively); that the lower the educational level, the higher the probability of having FM; and that psychological distress was positively associated with the syndrome (OR = 4.62; CI95% = 2.68-7.97). Although abuse was more prevalent in cases than in controls, the differences were not statistically significant. However, frequency of abuse was positively and significantly correlated with FM. Although the aetiology of FM is still uncertain, it seems that certain psychosocial factors may be associated with the syndrome. Therefore, an interdisciplinary approach to the treatment of patients affected with this syndrome should be considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Battered Women / psychology*
  • Battered Women / statistics & numerical data
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Domestic Violence / psychology*
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / epidemiology*
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires