Cumulative life stress in chronic fatigue syndrome

Urs M. Nater, Elizabeth Maloney, Christine Heim, William C. Reeves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


We studied the impact of cumulative life stress on CFS in a population-based study. We found that exposure to stressors was significantly more common in persons with CFS compared to NF controls; those with CFS reported experiencing significantly higher levels of psychological distress. Also, post-traumatic stress disorder was significantly more common in people with CFS. These results not only corroborate findings from other studies but, importantly, extend those by: a) measuring a comprehensive spectrum of stress variables, b) for the first time presenting data on stress in a population-based study, thus minimizing the effects of recruitment bias, and c) diagnosing CFS by means of standardized, validated scales, thus allowing replication and extension of our findings. Stress may be an important factor in the pathophysiology of CFS. Consequently, future studies should provide a more detailed understanding of the processes that lead from stress to CFS using longitudinal designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-320
Number of pages3
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 30 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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