Exploring symptom expressions according to different age groups in fibromyalgia: a cross-sectional study
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Submission date: 2018-01-09
Final revision date: 2018-04-13
Acceptance date: 2018-04-24
Online publication date: 2018-05-22
Publication date: 2018-05-22
Health Psychology Report 2018;6(3):243–251
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic musculoskeletal disorder which mostly affects women. This study investigates whether the prediction of self-report based fatigue, stress, everyday memory and impact (the most affected components of health status, i.e., physical impairment, feeling good, doing work, pain, anxiety, etc.) differ between younger patients and older patients with fibromyalgia.

Participants and procedure:
The current study included a community-based sample of 1,205 participants who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria. Participants were categorized into four age groups (30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60-90). Binary logistic regression was used to analyze whether there were differences between the youngest patients (30-39) and the older patients (40-49, 50-59 and 60-90) in the prediction of each variable (i.e., fatigue, impact, stress and memory deficits).

When the youngest patients’ scores were compared with the older patients’ scores, there was at least one significant result for each dependent variable (i.e., fatigue, impact, perceived stress and everyday memory). The youngest patients reported more fatigue than the 50-59 age group and a greater impact than both the 40-49 and 50-59 age groups; furthermore, they exhibited lower everyday memory function than the 40-49 and 50-59 age groups. However, the youngest patients reported less perceived stress than the elderly patients (60-90).

The current findings suggest that the youngest patients generally report having more symptoms than older patients in terms of fibromyalgia. There have been a limited number of studies examining symptom expressions in different age groups. Further research should clarify the differences in expression of symptoms between age groups by investigating coping skills and illness perceptions in fibromyalgia.

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