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01.04.2015 | Ausgabe 2/2015

International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 2/2015

Effects of a Self-regulation Based Physical Activity Program (The “4-STEPS”) for Unexplained Chronic Fatigue: a Randomized Controlled Trial

Zeitschrift:
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine > Ausgabe 2/2015
Autoren:
M. Marques, V. De Gucht, I. Leal, S. Maes

Abstract

Background

This study aimed at assessing the effects of a self-regulation-based brief physical activity program for patients suffering from unexplained chronic fatigue, the “4-STEPS to control your fatigue program”.

Method

A 12-week randomized controlled trial was conducted. Adult patients meeting the CDC criteria for idiopathic chronic fatigue were randomized to either the control condition (standard care) or the intervention condition (4-STEPS). The 4-STEPS was based on self-regulation principles and consisted of motivational interviewing and self-regulation skills training. All patients were assessed at baseline and post-treatment (12 weeks) for fatigue severity (primary outcome) and impact, physical activity (leisure time physical activity, number of daily steps and personal activity goal progress), health-related quality of life, somatic distress and psychological distress (depression and anxiety).

Results

Ninety-one patients (45 intervention and 46 control patients) received the allocated intervention. At post-treatment, statistical analysis revealed a significant difference for subjective experience of fatigue (4.73 points; g = 0.51) in favour of the intervention group. Mixed design ANCOVAs showed a significant effect of the 4-STEPS on fatigue severity, leisure time physical activity, personal activity goal progress and health-related quality of life. No significant effects were found for number of daily steps and somatic and psychological distress.

Conclusion

The 4-STEPS program has significant beneficial effects at post-treatment. This brief self-regulation-based intervention looks promising for the management of unexplained chronic fatigue.
Trial Registration: ISRCTN70763996

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