Sociodemographic and symptom correlates of fatigue in an adolescent primary care sample

Cynthia J. Mears, Renee R. Taylor*, Karen M. Jordan, Helen J. Binns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose To describe the prevalence of prolonged fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)-like illness, and associated symptom patterns in adolescents attending primary care. Methods The design was cross-sectional. A questionnaire designed by the authors assessing fatigue and associated symptoms was administered to 901 adolescents (aged 11-18 years) attending 12 primary care clinics in the Chicago area. Prevalence rates for prolonged fatigue and CFS-like illness were calculated. Univariate comparisons involving sociodemograpic data and fatigue severity were made between adolescents with and without prolonged fatigue, and sociodemographic and symptom predictors of prolonged fatigue were identified using logistic regression analysis. Results Prolonged fatigue (≥ 1 month) occurred at a rate of 8.0% and CFS-like illness occurred at a rate of 4.4%. Adolescents with prolonged fatigue were significantly older and also reported greater fatigue severity than those without fatigue. Findings from logistic regression indicated that, in addition to increasing age, headaches, muscle pains, fever, and fatigue made worse by exercise were significantly associated with prolonged fatigue. Conclusions Abnormal fatigue is a disabling and prevalent condition in adolescents in primary care. It is associated with a number of additional symptoms, many of which may have viral origins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528.e21-528.e26
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Adolescents
  • Fatigue
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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