Multiaxial taxonomy of fibromyalgia syndrome patients

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Pain, disability, and depression are present in various degrees in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. Cluster analysis was used in this research to ascertain the existence of subgroups of patients in a fibromyalgia sample based on these variables. Two clusters were defined: one characterized by high levels of pain, disability, and depression (n=51) and another characterized by low levels of pain, disability, and depression (n=67). Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) confirmed differences between clusters on these health status factors and a second MANOVA revealed that the subgroup with a poorer health status reported greater passive coping, helplessness, and stress, and less satisfaction with social support, than the subgroup with better health status. Logistic regression indicated that the best discriminator of subgroup membership was helplessness. These results suggest that different approaches to patient management, particularly intervention strategies aimed at reducing helplessness, may be beneficial for patients with high levels of pain, disability, and depression.