Psychopathology, Family Functioning and Marital Relationship in Female Patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome
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Objective: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic widespread painful syndrome of middle-aged women. Psychological problems, especially depression and anxiety are common among the FMS patients. High alexithymia scores have been reported before. It is suggested that FMS has a negative effect on family and marital relationships. In this study, we aimed to search whether there is a difference between the FMS and osteoarthritis patients with chronic pain regarding the psychopathologic features, alexithymia and the effects of these diseases on family and marital relationships. Patients and Methods: Fifty-four female FMS patients and 33 osteoarthritis patients as controls were included in the study. All patients were given a socio-demographic Data Form, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for pain, Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), Symptom Check List-90 Revised (SCL-90-R), Marital Life Scale (MLS), Marital Conflict Questionnaire (MCQ), and Family Assessment Device (FAD). Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) was given only to the FMS patients. Results: TAS Scale 1 (difficulty in describing the feelings) and TAS total mean scores of FMS patients were significantly higher compared to the control group (p<0.05). The mean scores of SCL-90-R and Global Symptom Index (GSI) subscales, except the paranoid ideation were also significantly higher in FMS group compared to control group (p<0.05). MLS scores were comparable in the FMS and control groups (p>0.05). Regarding MCQ, both Conflict Expansion Score (CES) and Frequency of Conflict Score (FCS) mean values were significantly higher in FMS patients (p<0.05). The mean scores of roles and affective responsiveness subscales of FAD were higher in the FMS group compared to the controls (p<0.05). There were positive correlations between the FIQ scores and obsessive-compulsive (r=0.35, p=0.01), interpersonal sensitivity (r=0.28, p=0.04), depression (r=0.36, p=0.00), anxiety (r=0.41, p=0.00), phobic anxiety (r=036, p=0.00), hostility (r=0.30, p=0.03) and psychoticism (r=0.39, p=0.00) subscales of SCL-90-R. Conclusion: According to the results of our study, there is a "difficulty in describing the feelings" which is an alexithymic component, more general psychopathology regarding SCL-90-R, more conflict in marital relations, and more problems in family functioning especially in areas of affective responsiveness and roles within the family in FMS patients compared to the controls with chronic pain. These findings indicate that multi-dimensional interventions are necessary in the treatment of FMS and instead of concentrating only on chronic pain handling of the family and marital relations negatively affected by accompanying psychopathologic features and disorders of the FMS patients should also be cared.