Fibromyalgia outcome: the predictive values of symptom duration, physical activity, disability pension, and critical life events--a 4.5 year prospective study

J Psychosom Res. 1996 Sep;41(3):235-43. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(96)00070-0.


Forty-four fibromyalgia patients were followed through 4.5 years to assess the extent to which symptom duration, physical activity level, disability pensions, and the occurrence of critical life events would predict long-term outcome. Outcome measures included pressure tenderness (dolorimeter score), work capacity (ergometer cycle test), global subjective improvement (verbal rating scale), and visual analogue scale ratings of pain, disturbed sleep, lack of energy, and depression. Significant outcome predictors were identified by means of separate multiple regression analyses on each outcome measure at follow-up, using symptom duration, physical activity level, disability pension status, and occurrence of critical life events as independent variables, together with baseline symptom intensity and age, which were adjusted for. An adequate physical activity level and increasing age predicted a positive outcome, while receiving a permanent disability pension or having experienced an excess of major negative life events predicted a negative outcome. Symptom duration did not affect outcome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / complications*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Norway
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pensions*
  • Prospective Studies