Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

M. Scott DeBerard, Susan L. Crowley


M. Scott DeBerard


Susan L. Crowley


Kevin Masters


David Stein


Dennis O'Dell


Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a debilitating condition that affects millions of individuals throughout the world. As of yet the specific etiology of this condition remains unknown and successful treatments remain in their infancy. Although several studies have focused on the emotional components of fibromyalgia, none have specifically addressed the issues of communication and anger that appear to be important among this patient population. The objectives of this study were to design a 4-week experimental group therapy treatment based on successful cognitive behavioral components and add anger management and communication components in an attempt to increase benefits to the overall well-being of patients.

Subjects were 46 fibromyalgia patients recruited from physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists as well as through newspaper, radio, and advertising through flyers. Patients who were accepted into the study were randomly assigned to either a treatment group or a wait-list control group, with the control group receiving the treatment in the month following the treatment group. Outcomes were assessed using a repeated measures analysis of variance with one within (time) and one-between subjects (group) factor. The five assessment measures utilized in this study were the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), the Short-Form 36 (SF-36) Version 2, the Chronic Pain Self-Efficacy Survey (CPSS), the State Trait Anger Expression Inventory- 2 (ST AXI-2) and a communication inventory developed specifically for this intervention. Specific outcomes measured included change on fibromyalgia-specific symptoms and physical and emotional health-related status, improvement in communication, change in anger scores, and changes in levels of self-efficacy.

Analysis of patient outcome data revealed that significant results were achieved in the areas of mental health and communication variables . In addition, several notable effect sizes were also found, particularly in the areas of vitality (-.97), mental health (-.76) and pain management (-1.17). Results demonstrated that a brief, cost-effective 4-week intervention can have a beneficial impact for FMS patients in the area of psychological function. Implications of these findings are discussed within the context of the existing literature on fibromyalgia treatment as well as in terms of possible limitations of the study as it was conducted.



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