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Unexplained Chronic Fatigue and Core Conflictual Relationship Themes: A Study in a Chronically Fatigued Population.

  • Vandenbergen, Jan
  • Vanheule, Stijn
  • Rosseel, Yves
  • Desmet, Mattias
  • Verhaeghe, Paul
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2009
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Objective. Unexplained fatigue syndromes are multidimensional phenomena that involve a constellation of symptoms. This paper explores whether typical relationship patterns are associated with self-reported and clinically rated fatigue symptoms in chronically fatigued patients. Method. Relationship patterns were assessed by means of the core conflictual relationship theme (CCRT) method. This method examines transference patterns, and was applied to interview data collected from chronically fatigued patients (N = 30). Chronic fatigue was assessed by means of a self-report questionnaire and was also rated clinically. Results. Both self-reported and clinically rated fatigue correlated with relationship themes. The intensity of fatigue related to the perception of others as not respecting and as negatively interfering. The typical reaction of the self to relationships consists of feeling disrespected, anger, passivity, and reduced feelings of self-consistency. Conclusion. Patients' perception of interpersonal relationships as distressing may be pivotal in understanding these results. Implications for clinical intervention and future research are indicated.

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