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Does fatigue and distress in a clinical cohort of adolescents with CFS correlate with fatigue and distress in their parents?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalChild: Care Health and Development
Issue number1
Early online date20 Oct 2018
Accepted/In press12 Oct 2018
E-pub ahead of print20 Oct 2018
PublishedJan 2019


  • Does fatigue and distress_LOADES_Accepted12October2018_GREEN AAM

    Does_fatigue_and_distress_LOADES_Accepted12October2018_GREEN_AAM.pdf, 326 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:29 Oct 2018

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

    "This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Does fatigue and distress in a clinical cohort of adolescents with CFS correlate with fatigue and distress in their parents? / Loades, Maria; Rimes, Katharine Amber; Ali, Sheila Momota; Lievesley, Kate; Chalder, Trudie. In: Child: Care Health and Development, 20.10.2018., which has been published in final form at [Link to final article using the DOI]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions."

King's Authors


Previous studies have found that parents of children with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are more fatigued, and mothers are more distressed than healthy controls. Managing the disabling symptoms of CFS can result in disruption and burden for the family. Most research has focused on mothers. This study sought to further explore the associations between adolescent fatigue and distress and parental fatigue and distress, as well as family functioning, including both mothers and fathers.

Cross‐sectional study of a clinical cohort of consecutive attenders at a specialist chronic fatigue unit.

Questionnaires were completed by adolescents (N = 115, age 11–18) with a confirmed diagnosis of CFS and their mothers (N = 100) and fathers (N = 65).

Maternal fatigue was significantly correlated with maternal distress, but not with adolescent fatigue, depression, anxiety, or functioning. This pattern held true for paternal fatigue. Maternal and paternal anxiety and depression were significantly correlated with family functioning. Paternal and maternal distress were correlated with each other. Mothers and fathers tended to have a consistent view of family functioning. Family functioning, specifically being overwhelmed by difficulties and scoring lower on strengths and adaptability, was positively associated with adolescent depression. Unexpectedly, higher levels of adolescent fatigue and poorer physical functioning were associated with better family functioning as rated by the mother.

Parents of adolescents with fatigue scored near to or within normative range for non‐clinical samples on distress, fatigue, and family functioning. Parental distress may contribute to or result from poorer family functioning. Family functioning, particularly building strengths and adaptability, may be clinically important in CFS, as well as attending to parental (particularly paternal) distress in families where adolescents are low in mood.

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