ORIGINAL PAPER

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 183-189

A factor analysis of chronic fatigue symptoms in a community-based sample

  • Leonard A. JasonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, DePaul University, 2219 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, USA, Tel.: +1-7 73/3 25-20 18, Fax: +1-7 73/3 25-78 88, E-Mail: ljason@wppost.depaul.edu
  • , Renee R. TaylorAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, DePaul University, 2219 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, USA, Tel.: +1-7 73/3 25-20 18, Fax: +1-7 73/3 25-78 88, E-Mail: ljason@wppost.depaul.edu
  • , Cara L. KennedyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, DePaul University, 2219 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, USA, Tel.: +1-7 73/3 25-20 18, Fax: +1-7 73/3 25-78 88, E-Mail: ljason@wppost.depaul.edu
  • , Karen JordanAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
  • , Cheng-Fang HuangAffiliated withNorthwestern University
  • , Susan Torres-HardingAffiliated withDePaul University
  • , Sharon SongAffiliated withDePaul University
  • , Danielle JohnsonAffiliated withDePaul University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Background This study examined characteristics of fatigue in individuals with chronic fatigue from a community-based study. Most studies of chronic fatigue have been based on patients recruited from primary or tertiary care settings. Samples such as these might not be representative of patients within the general population. The purpose of this study was to determine the factor structure of participants' symptoms in a random community sample of individuals with chronic fatigue. Method A random sample of 18,675 respondents in Chicago received a brief telephone questionnaire designed to identify individuals with chronic fatigue. A group of 780 (4.2 %) with chronic fatigue received further interview via telephone questionnaire involving characteristics of their fatigue. The analyses for this study were based on those people identified with having chronic fatigue. A factor analysis was conducted on responses to questionnaire items, and a four-factor solution emerged. Mean factor scores were derived and analyzed in relation to sociodemographic characteristics and sample subgroups. Results The four factors were labeled: Lack of Energy, Physical Exertion, Cognitive Functioning, and Fatigue and Rest. Conclusions Results indicated that individuals with chronic fatigue have symptoms that can be differentiated into theoretically distinct factors.

Key words Chronic fatigue – symptoms – factor analysis