OBJECTIVE. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a profoundly disabling condition characterized by severe, unrelenting fatigue and a number of other physical and cognitive symptoms. Currently, there is no cure or widely accepted treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome, and few rehabilitation programs exist to address quality of life issues in chronic fatigue syndrome. In the present randomized clinical trial, the effects of an integrative, con-sumer-driven rehabilitation program on quality of life and symptom severity for individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome were examined.
METHOD. Forty-seven participants were randomly assigned to either an immediate program group (n = 23) or a delayed program control group (n = 24) and assessed with the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptom Rating Scale and the Quality of Life Index before the program, after program participants completed the group phase, and after program participants completed the one-on-one phase. It was hypothesized that the program would lead to improvements in quality of life and an overall reduction in symptom severity.
RESULTS. Linear growth models were estimated comparing program and control conditions over time using random-effects regression analyses. Significant condition by time interactions were observed for the main outcomes of symptom severity and overall quality of life. Effect sizes for these interactions involving symptom severity (Cohen’s d = 0.71) and overall quality of life (Cohen’s d = .66) were moderate.
CONCLUSIONS. Findings indicate that consumer driven programs such as this one can have a positive impact on symptom severity and quality of life over time for individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome.