Measuring fatigue in clinical and community settings

J Psychosom Res. 2010 Jul;69(1):17-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2009.10.007. Epub 2009 Dec 11.


Objective: The Chalder Fatigue Scale (CFQ) is a widely used instrument to assess fatigue in both clinical and nonclinical settings. Psychometric properties of the scale and discriminative abilities were examined.

Methods: A total of 361 patients with CFS and 1615 individuals in the community were assessed with the CFQ. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to explore the structure of the scale. Receiver-operating characteristic curve (ROC) was used to investigate the discriminative properties.

Results: Two components, physical and mental fatigue, were identified in the CFS patient group and in the general population samples. Area under the curve for ROC was .91. The fatigue scale effectively discriminates, at high scores, between CFS patients and the general population.

Conclusion: Physical and mental fatigue are clearly separable components of fatigue. The CFQ can discriminate reliably between clinical and nonclinical conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • England
  • Fatigue / diagnosis*
  • Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Fatigue / psychology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Fatigue / diagnosis*
  • Mental Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Mental Fatigue / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Young Adult