Metacognitions as predictors of treatment outcomes in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Nikcevic, Ana, Fernie, Bruce, Wells, Adrian and Spada, Marcantonio (2016) Metacognitions as predictors of treatment outcomes in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In: The 3rd International Conference of Metacognitive Therapy; 08 - 09 Apr 2016, Milan, Italy. (Unpublished)


Beliefs reflecting cognitive confidence and beliefs about the need to control thoughts predict symptom severity in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Studies have reported that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) are effective treatments for CFS. We investigated if changes in metacognitive beliefs predict fatigue severity and physical functioning after controlling for negative affect in patients receiving CBT and GET for CFS. 171 CFS patients undertaking either CBT (n=116) or GET (n=55) completed a variety of self-report questionnaires including metacognitive beliefs at pre- and post-treatment and follow-up. CBT and GET were equally effective at decreasing fatigue, anxiety, and depression, and at increasing physical functioning. Changes in metacognitions had a significant effect on fatigue severity independently of changes in other covariates and across treatment modalities. Metacognitive Therapy might be an effective treatment of CFS through re-structuring metacognitions, modifying attentional control and interrupting rumination and worry.

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