Building a measure of fatigue: the functional assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy Fatigue Scale

PM R. 2010 May;2(5):359-63. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2010.04.017.


The shared goal of all clinical disciplines is to optimize the well-being of people who become patients and find themselves diminished by illness and recovery. This goal relies on sound tools to evaluate both real and perceived deficits in a way that can be used for a particular patient over time and also across medical disciplines and patient populations. Fatigue is a critical and notoriously subjective aspect of many illnesses. Although the soundness of research is often correlated with the objectivity of data, certain clinical measures must, by definition, be patient centered, with all the complexities and challenges of patient-reported evaluations. Measurement of fatigue has been an important and evolving component of symptom management in the field of oncology. The Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy Fatigue Scale is a self-administered fatigue-assessment tool that has found wide application across diverse medical fields and that has demonstrated validity and utility across a broad range of populations. The Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy Fatigue Scale has become one in a repository of tools in the item banks that are accumulating under the auspices of The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System, a National Institutes of Health initiative to deploy the most clinically relevant and technologically agile tools that we have to advance research in medicine and patient care. As much as with any other discipline, physical medicine and rehabilitation stands to gain from the collective knowledge and creative horizons in the assessment and treatment of fatigue.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease*
  • Fatigue*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation
  • Reproducibility of Results