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Illness cognitions and coping styles in adolescents with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Henderson, Clare; (2002) Illness cognitions and coping styles in adolescents with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a poorly understood condition. Research into CFS in children is particularly limited, and has only started to gather momentum in the last few years. This project investigated the relationships between illness cognitions, coping styles and physical and psychological functioning in adolescents with CFS. The relationship between parental and child illness cognitions was also explored, as was the relationship between parental cognitions and child coping. Parent and child versions of the Illness Perceptions Questionnaire and the Pain Coping Questionnaire were used to assess illness cognitions and child's coping style, respectively. Child functioning was measured using the fatigue scale and parent and child report from the Functional Disabilities Inventory, and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Parents who reported having negative beliefs about their child's illness were found to have children with similar beliefs. No relationship was found between parental illness cognitions and child coping. Children who thought negatively about the consequences of their illness reported focusing more on their symptoms as a coping style. The children who tended to cope in this way also reported more psychological difficulties. Children who thought less negatively about the consequences of their illness, reported using behavioural distraction as a coping style. These results provide support for the applicability of the adult cognitive behavioural model to children with CFS. They also indicate that parental illness cognitions may contribute to the formation and maintenance of the child's illness cognitions. A cognitive behavioural model for children with CFS incorporating these findings is proposed, and it is argued that including parents in treatment is vital.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy
Title: Illness cognitions and coping styles in adolescents with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098994
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