Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 289–298

Chronic Fatigue and Personality: A Twin Study of Causal Pathways and Shared Liabilities

Authors

    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of MedicineUniversity of Washington
  • Eric Strachan
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of MedicineUniversity of Washington
    • Center for Clinical and Epidemiological ResearchUniversity of Washington
  • Elizabeth Dansie
    • Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of Washington
  • Dedra S. Buchwald
    • Center for Clinical and Epidemiological ResearchUniversity of Washington
    • Department of MedicineUniversity of Washington
  • Niloofar Afari
    • VA Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental HealthVA San Diego Healthcare System
    • Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12160-012-9463-5

Cite this article as:
Poeschla, B., Strachan, E., Dansie, E. et al. ann. behav. med. (2013) 45: 289. doi:10.1007/s12160-012-9463-5

Abstract

Background

The etiology of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) remains unknown. Personality traits influence well-being and may play a role in CFS and unexplained chronic fatigue.

Purpose

This study aimed to examine the association of emotional instability and extraversion with chronic fatigue and CFS in a genetically informative sample.

Methods

We evaluated 245 twin pairs for two definitions of chronic fatigue. They completed the Neuroticism and Extraversion subscales of the NEO Five Factor Inventory. Using a co-twin control design, we examined the association between personality and chronic fatigue.

Results

Higher emotional instability was associated with both definitions of chronic fatigue and was confounded by shared genetics. Lower extraversion was also associated with both definitions of fatigue, but was not confounded by familial factors.

Conclusions

Both emotional instability and extraversion are related to chronic fatigue and CFS. Whereas emotional instability and chronic fatigue are linked by shared genetic mechanisms, the relationship with extraversion may be causal and bidirectional.

Keywords

Chronic fatiguePersonalityExtraversionNeuroticismTwinGenetic

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2013