Does It Matter What You Call It? Lay Beliefs for Overcoming Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, and Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome

Article


Mcdermott, M., Bendle, Chris, Griffin, Murray and Furnham, Adrian 2016. Does It Matter What You Call It? Lay Beliefs for Overcoming Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, and Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry. 18 (2), pp. 150-162.
AuthorsMcdermott, M., Bendle, Chris, Griffin, Murray and Furnham, Adrian
Abstract

The study reported here examines variation in beliefs about how best to overcome a health complaint when it is nominally designated in one of 3 different ways, namely, as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), or as post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS). In a repeated measures design, the participant sample (n = 140) was presented with an adapted version of Knapp and Karabenick's (1985) questionnaire which asks respondents to rate the degree to which single-item coping strategies would be most useful for overcoming each of the 3 designated complaints. Factor analysis of the coping items produces 3 groups of items as belief components: "self-reliance," "seeking help," and "external control." The chronic fatigue syndrome appellation invoked significantly higher scores on the self-reliance factor and on external control than did the other two diagnostic labels. However, seeking help was considered to be the most important strategy for overcoming all three of the designated incarnations of the condition. In conclusion, "chronic fatigue syndrome" is the linguistic construction that bestows the most beneficial outlook for assisting individuals to overcome this complaint. Thereby, the use of this descriptor in current medical nomenclatures arguably is well placed.

KeywordsChonic Fatigue; Lay Beliefs; Myalgic Encephalomyelitis; Post-Viral
JournalEthical Human Psychology and Psychiatry
Journal citation18 (2), pp. 150-162
ISSN1559-4343
Year2016
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Accepted author manuscript
License
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1891/1559-4343.18.2.150
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1891/1559-4343.18.2.150
Publication dates
Print01 Aug 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Jun 2017
Accepted2016
Copyright informationThe final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/1559-4343.18.2.150
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