"Is fatigue a disease-specific or generic symptom in chronic medical conditions?" (Dutch CBT proponents involved)

Discussion in 'Other psychosomatic news and research' started by Dolphin, May 26, 2018.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)


    Is fatigue a disease-specific or generic symptom in chronic medical conditions?

    Journal Article
    Database: PsycARTICLES

    Menting, Juliane Tack, Cees J. Bleijenberg, Gijs Donders, Rogier Droogleever Fortuyn, Hal A. Fransen, Jaap Goedendorp, Martine M. Kalkman, Joke S. Strik-Albers, Riet van Alfen, Nens van der Werf, Sieberen P. Voermans, Nicol C. van Engelen, Baziel G. Knoop, Hans
    Menting, J., Tack, C. J., Bleijenberg, G., Donders, R., Droogleever Fortuyn, H. A., Fransen, J., . . . Knoop, H. (2018). Is fatigue a disease-specific or generic symptom in chronic medical conditions? Health Psychology, 37(6), 530-543.



    Severe fatigue is highly prevalent in various chronic diseases.

    Disease-specific fatigue models have been developed, but it is possible that fatigue-related factors in these models are similar across diseases.

    The purpose of the current study was to determine the amount of variance in fatigue severity explained by:
    (a) the specific disease,
    (b) factors associated with fatigue across different chronic diseases (transdiagnostic factors), and
    (c) the interactions between these factors and specific diseases.


    Data from 15 studies that included 1696 patients with common chronic diseases and disorders that cause long-term disabilities were analyzed.

    Linear regression analysis with the generalized least-squares technique was used to determine fatigue-related factors associated with fatigue severity, that is, demographic variables, health-related symptoms and psychosocial variables.


    Type of chronic disease explained 11% of the variance noted in fatigue severity.

    The explained variance increased to 55% when the transdiagnostic factors were added to the model.

    These factors were female sex, age, motivational and concentration problems, pain, sleep disturbances, physical functioning, reduced activity and lower self-efficacy concerning fatigue.

    The predicted variance increased to 61% when interaction terms were added.

    Analysis of the interactions revealed that the relationship between fatigue severity and relevant predictors mainly differed in strength, not in direction.


    Fatigue severity can largely be explained by transdiagnostic factors; the associations vary between chronic diseases in strength and significance.

    This suggests that severely fatigued patients with different chronic diseases can probably benefit from a transdiagnostic fatigue-approach which focuses on individual patient needs rather than a specific disease. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Only looked at the abstract.

    Are they claiming associations are explanations? Seems odd when the associations are between things like 'fatigue', 'reduced activity', 'concentration problems', etc.

    It's like a doctor saying 'we have an explanation for your fatigue - you have chronic fatigue syndrome'. Fatigue can be explained by the symptoms of fatigue.
    Pechius, Wonko, andypants and 8 others like this.
  3. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    This is the type of logic driving IAPT I reckon.
    Pechius, Wonko, NelliePledge and 3 others like this.
  4. alktipping

    alktipping Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    waffle probably based on the many tons of ppp this particular industry mistakes forscience
  5. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

    I honestly can't believe what I'm reading here. Unbelievably, these authors have "explained" the variance in self-reported fatigue using measures that heavily overlap with self-reported fatigue. How ridiculous to present lower physical function and reduced activity as causes of fatigue.

    Can't believe how far up their own ****s these researchers are. It really is appalling. This piece should never have been published; Health Psychology should be ashamed of themselves.
    Pechius, TiredSam, alex3619 and 23 others like this.
  6. Hoopoe

    Hoopoe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    How can we put a stop to this? There is clearly a systemic problem with researchers just spewing self serving bullshit instead of doing a proper job.

    You don't need to read their studies anymore because you know that the conclusion will inevitably be: CBT can treat everything effectively and everyone needs CBT. Children need CBT at school to do well, adults need CBT to do well at work and in private life, patients with medical illnesses need CBT for their fatigue, patients with mental illnesses need CBT for their thoughts and emotions and so on.

    If they could, they would create a huge CBT empire with themselves on top, reaping all the profits.
    Last edited: May 27, 2018
  7. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    They really don't think much of women do they?
  8. jeckylberry

    jeckylberry Established Member (Voting Rights)

    I had to look up the definition of "transdiagnostic factors". It seems to mean that certain symptoms can be found across a number of conditions and used mostly in psych disorders by the look of it. For instance PTSD diagnostic factors overlap with the symptoms that are diagnostic of depression. That sort of thing. I'm having a little more trouble trying to put that fairly reasonable concept onto this.

    Are they saying that a large amount of fatigue in chronic illnesses are 'generic' as the title suggests. I can understand that some fatigue is specific to a disease such as muscle weakness in degenerative neuromuscular diseases, for example, or tremor in Parkinsonism. Then there would be symptoms that all of the diseases have and it is these ones that can be described as 'generic' and thereby treated similarly in all patients, just as depression has the same characteristics and can be treated the same way in many different illnesses. Surely they're not saying it's just overlapping with chronic fatigue! Surely!

    I really don't get what's with the mention of "female sex"? As much as it may be statistically significant, how is it a diagnostic factor of fatigue?
  9. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Well, as someone who has an underactive thyroid, been very anaemic lots of times and has ME, I can tell you that not all fatigue is the same.

    All three feel markedly different. Okay, we don't know what to do about ME yet, beyond pacing and not exercising, but it's no good treating anaemia related fatigue and underactive thyroid fatigue as the same. Unless they don't want patients to get better....
    inox, lycaena, Wonko and 8 others like this.
  10. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Probably would still be helpful to have people reading them carefully, writing letters to journals pointing out the problems, etc? It is dispiriting that standards in journals aren't already higher, and letters are such a poor why of having any meaningful debate, but if they keep coming, and the researchers never have worthwhile responses, hopefully that will help increase people's scepticism over time.
  11. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

    The implication is that if you can link a symptom to female gender, then in many of these people's minds that proves it is psychological. Because women are believed to be more prone to somatisation.

    There are female coauthors on this article. I can't understand why they buy this patronising and mysogynistic bullshit. Perhaps the men have the excuse of ignorance. The women don't - shame on you for signing your name to this garbage!
    Pechius, alktipping, JemPD and 9 others like this.
  12. Sean

    Sean Moderator Staff Member

    Fixed it for you.

    Well, we used to, and probably not even then. It's not like women are a recent invention. It's more that men just haven't ever been bothered to actually read the instruction manual. But women already knew that.
  13. andypants

    andypants Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I think this happens the same way a lot of healthy people, regardless of sex, seem to find comfort in psychological explanations for ME - if it’s in our heads that means they probably won’t get it themselves, or at least they can tell themselves they would be able to ‘snap out of it’ with some positive thinking and mindfulness. Health risk denial 101.
    Pechius, alktipping, TiredSam and 7 others like this.
  14. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    IAPT roll out
  15. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    A Letter to the Editor Regarding Menting et al. (2018)
    Ali, Matcham, Irving, & Chalder

    full letter here:
    Cheshire, Woolie and Esther12 like this.
  16. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Moderator Staff Member

    UK West Midlands
    bloody Chalder and her fear-avoidance and symptom focussing again - as we used to say in the olden days she's like a record with the needle stuck
    alktipping, EzzieD, Woolie and 3 others like this.
  17. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    So Chalder's also claiming this research means that fatigue severity can be explained.

    That sounded like BS:

    Am I going to have to read this paper? I really don't want to. It looks like such worthless drivel.
    alktipping, EzzieD, Woolie and 2 others like this.
  18. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    [Satire/Sarcasm] Next on the agenda, education camps for the entire population?
  19. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Also, can someone please remind them that some ME patients do not have chronic fatigue, they have energy deficits and many other symptoms. Fatigue is not a universal issue, just a common one and easily identified in a five minute medical interview. Energy related issues, which can include fatigue, are however mandatory.
  20. James Morris-Lent

    James Morris-Lent Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    United States
    'We found people who report worse fatigue report focusing more on their fatigue and report more avoidance of doing things that they feel exacerbates their fatigue. Therefore, if they stop focusing on their fatigue and don't avoid things that they feel exacerbate their fatigue, they will be less fatigued.'

    I'm not sure about this logic. Let's try it with something else.

    'We found that people with worse congestive heart failure report focusing more on their heart failure and report more avoidance of doing things that they feel exacerbates their heart failure symptoms. Therefore, if they stop focusing on their heart failure and don't avoid things that they feel exacerbate their heart failure symptoms, they will have less congestive heart failure.'

    Okay, logic checks out. Carry on.
    inox, lycaena, Pechius and 13 others like this.

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