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Significant others and patient symptom maintenance in CFS/ME Seminar

14 January 2015
Building 44, Room 2103

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Sue McNally on 02380 595150 or email .

Event details

Significant others and patient symptom maintenance in CFS/ME

Cognitive-behavioural models propose that several factors interact to perpetuate and maintain Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME), including social factors. A review of the previous empirical evidence suggested the presence of at least two potential interpersonal processes; we propose the significant other beliefs and responses, dyadic relationship quality, and patient outcomes associated with each mechanism are different. Expressed Emotion (EE) is a well-validated, methodological and theoretical framework for understanding the impact of normal family experiences in adjustment to illness. In a study of 55 dyads, we focussed on two key constructs, criticism and emotional over-involvement (EOI), as key predictors of patient outcome in with the proposed interpersonal processes. Longitudinally, significant other criticism predicted greater fatigue severity; further analyses indicated that depression mediated this relationship. High EOI was also predictive of greater fatigue severity at follow-up.

Significant other illness models were important in contributing to the development of high-EE, particularly negative beliefs about the consequences associated with the condition, and negative emotional representations. 50% of the significant other sample reported significant (caseness) levels of distress. The results suggest that significant other focussed interventions may be beneficial for both patient and significant other outcomes.

Speaker information

Dr Becky Band,Research Fellow University of Southampton

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