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Chronic fatigue and indicators of long-term employment disability in psychosomatic inpatients
Tritt, K.; Nickel, M.; Mitterlehner, F. [u. a.]
Wiener klinische Wochenschrift, 2004, Volume 116 (Number 5/6), Seite 182-189, Wien: Springer, ISSN: 0043-5325
The major goal of this study was to determine indictors of long-term disability for psychosomatic inpatients with chronic fatigue syndrome. To this end, a cross-sectional study was performed with a random sample of patients (n=1000, response rate: 83.9 %) at a psychosomatic inpatient clinic. 51.1 % of the patients (n=429) reported intensely persistent exhaustion that had no logical relation to actual exertion. 159 (37.1 %) patients in this group were disabled from working and these comprised the main target group of this study. Significantly more patients in the target group worked part time, were disabled for a disproportionately long period of time (50.9 % of all were disabled for more than 6 months in the previous year), and felt stressed because of conflicts with their superiors and/or colleagues (in each case, P<0.01).
While more frequent psychological comorbidity was not found, they reported physical complaints more often. It was not the patients fit for work who felt more burdened with chronic fatigue, but rather the employment-disabled, who were actually exposed to fewer demands. These patients had, in comparison with those fit to work, a stronger fixation on somatic complaints, inadequate perception of physical and psychic sensations, difficulties getting along with other people and in coping with a regular job (in each case, P<0.01). Prospective examination of these indicators could help detect predictor variables for long-term disability in chronic fatigue. Such predictors could contribute to timely social-medical assessment and treatment.
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Wiener klinische Wochenschrift
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