Identification of ambiguities in the 1994 chronic fatigue syndrome research case definition and recommendations for resolutionReport as inadecuate




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BMC Health Services Research

, 5:37

First Online: 13 May 2005Received: 16 August 2004Accepted: 13 May 2005DOI: 10.1186-1472-6963-5-37

Cite this article as: Stouten, B. BMC Health Serv Res 2005 5: 37. doi:10.1186-1472-6963-5-37

Abstract

BackgroundA recent article by Reeves et al. on the identification and resolution of ambiguities in the 1994 chronic fatigue syndrome CFS research case definition recommended the Checklist Individual Strength, the Chalder Fatigue Scale, and the Krupp Fatigue Severity Scale for evaluating fatigue in CFS studies. To be able to discriminate between various levels of severe fatigue, extreme scoring on the individual items of these questionnaires must not occur too often.

MethodsWe derived an expression that allows us to compute a lower bound for the number of items with the maximum item score for a given study from the reported mean scale score, the number of reported subjects, and the properties of the fatigue rating scale. Several CFS studies that used the recommended fatigue rating scales were selected from literature and analyzed to verify whether abundant extreme scoring had occurred.

ResultsExtreme scoring occurred on a large number of the items for all three recommended fatigue rating scales across several studies. The percentage of items with the maximum score exceeded 40% in several cases. The amount of extreme scoring for a certain scale varied from one study to another, which suggests heterogeneity in the selected subjects across studies.

ConclusionBecause all three instruments easily reach the extreme ends of their scales on a large number of the individual items, they do not accurately represent the severe fatigue that is characteristic for CFS. This should lead to serious questions about the validity and suitability of the Checklist Individual Strength, the Chalder Fatigue Scale, and the Krupp Fatigue Severity Scale for evaluating fatigue in CFS research.

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Author: Bart Stouten

Source: https://link.springer.com/







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