Pain coping strategies and quality of life in women with fibromyalgia: Does age make a difference?

C. S. Burckhardt, S. R. Clark, R. M. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives: To characterize and compare the demographics, symptom profiles, pain coping strategies, and quality of life in three age groups of women with fibromyalgia [FMS]. Methods: Self-report questionnaires, including the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire [FIQ], Beck Depression Inventory, Coping Strategies Questionnaire, and Quality of Life Scale, were filled out by 343 consecutive women who were participating in FMS treatment programs. Patients were divided into three age groups for purposes of data analysis. Results: The youngest age group had their symptoms for a significantly shorter period of time than the middle age and older age groups. Tender point pain score, the FIQ physical functioning and well-being items, and perceived ability to decrease pain were significantly worse for the youngest age group when compared to the other two groups. The youngest group had significantly higher catastrophizing scores and lower quality of life than the oldest age group. Discriminant function analysis between the youngest and oldest groups revealed that a combination of six variables: length of symptoms, quality of life, tender point pain score, morning tiredness, behavioral activity strategies, and a pain control/rational thinking factor were 84% accurate in classifying these patients into their original groups. When length of symptoms was excluded, the remaining five variables were 79% accurate in classifying the patients. Conclusions: Young women with FMS perceive the severity of FMS to be higher and respond with more distress than older women with FMS. This finding is largely independent of symptom length.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Musculoskeletal Pain
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Coping strategies questionnaire
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Fibromyalgia impact questionnaire
  • Quality of life scale
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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