Sociodemographic factors in fibromyalgia: results from the Italian Fibromyalgia Registry

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2022 Jun;40(6):1183-1188. doi: 10.55563/clinexprheumatol/64963d. Epub 2022 Jun 23.


Objectives: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic musculoskeletal pain syndrome of unknown aetiopathogenesis. Its development and maintenance are related to the interplay of biological, psychological, and contextual factors. Among the contextual factors, sociodemographic aspects are poorly elucidated. This study aimed to evaluate the relationships between sociodemographic/clinical factors and symptom severity measures using a web-based registry of patients with FM.

Methods: Adult patients with an ACR 2010/2011 diagnosis of FM underwent a clinical evaluation and were asked to complete questionnaires covering their sociodemographic data (gender, age, marital status, educational level), and disease-specific measures (the revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR), and the Polysymptomatic Distress Scale (PDS)).

Results: Data relating to 3,221 patients (3001 women and 220 men) was collected. The ANOVA showed significant difference in mean FIQR scores when the five marital conditions (cohabiter, married, separated/divorced, single, widowed) were compared (F 3.321, p<0.01). While males and females were found to have comparable FIQR scores, the interaction between gender and marital status indicated that separated/divorced males have higher FIQR scores (F 5.684, p=0.001). The multiple regression analysis demonstrated that patients who reported lower educational level experienced more severe FM symptoms, as scored with FIQR (p<0.0001).

Conclusions: Our results indicated that being male and separated/divorced is associated to higher severity of FM symptoms, as rated with FIQR. Furthermore, a relationship between educational level and FIQR scores has been detected. This study supports the importance of collecting simple SES measures to identify environmental risk factors for FM severity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Pain*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia* / diagnosis
  • Fibromyalgia* / epidemiology
  • Fibromyalgia* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Registries
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sociodemographic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires