The impact of symptom stability on time frame and recall reliability in CFS

Meredyth Evans, Leonard A. Jason*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study is an investigation of the potential impact of perceived symptom stability on the recall reliability of symptom severity and frequency as reported by individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Symptoms were recalled using three different recall time frames (the past week, the past month, and the past six months) and at two assessment points (with one week in between each assessment). Participants were 51 adults (45 women and 6 men), between the ages of 29 and 66 with a current diagnosis of CFS. Multilevel Model Analyses were used to determine the optimal recall time frame (in terms of test–retest reliability) for reporting symptoms perceived as variable and as stable over time. Headaches were recalled more reliably when they were reported as stable over time. Furthermore, the optimal time frame in terms of test–retest reliability for stable symptoms was highly uniform, such that all Fukuda CFS symptoms were more reliably recalled at the six-month time frame. Furthermore, the optimal time frame for CFS symptoms perceived as variable, differed across symptoms. Symptom stability and recall time frame are important to consider in order to improve the accuracy and reliability of the current methods for diagnosing this illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1079945
JournalCogent Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 31 2015


  • assessment
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • recall reliability
  • symptom stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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