Measuring fatigue: a meta-review

Int J Dermatol. 2021 Sep;60(9):1053-1069. doi: 10.1111/ijd.15341. Epub 2020 Dec 10.


There is a lack of validated tools to measure fatigue in patients with inflammatory skin, neuropsychiatric, and medical disorders. The use of nonvalidated tools may compromise the quality of data. The purpose of this meta-review was to evaluate existing fatigue scales commonly used to assess fatigue in other inflammatory conditions and to identify if there are scales that have been validated in dermatologic conditions. The PubMed/MEDLINE and SCOPUS databases were systematically searched from inception through March 10, 2020, in accordance with the PRISMA statement. Validated tools were identified and assessed according to their main measurement properties. The literature search identified 403 references, and eight studies were eligible and assessed in this review. The unidimensional fatigue scales included were the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy - Fatigue (FACIT-F), Brief Fatigue Inventory, Fatigue Severity Scale, Numerical Rating Scale - Fatigue, and Visual Analog Scale - Fatigue. The multidimensional fatigue scales found were the Checklist Individual Strength, Chalder Fatigue Scale, Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue, Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory Scale, and Piper Fatigue Scale. To measure fatigue, a brief scale with the ability to detect change is needed as there is a growing interest in evaluating this dimension of treatment response. In addition, a good content validity is also needed. From this systematic review, none of the selected scales have had content validation, even though the FACIT was validated in patients with psoriatic arthritis. Validation studies in specific disorders are urgently warranted.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Checklist*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Fatigue* / diagnosis
  • Fatigue* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Pain Measurement
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index