TGI Friday! Our weekly round-up of recently published research abstracts | 8 January 2015

January 8, 2016

From the British Journal of Health Psychology, 24 December 2015

Significant other behavioural responses and patient chronic fatigue syndrome symptom fluctuations in the context of daily life: An experience sampling study

Rebecca Band(1,2,*), Christine Barrowclough(1), Richard Emsley(3), Matthew Machin(4) and Alison J. Wearden(1)
1) School of Psychological Sciences & Manchester Centre for Health Psychology, University of Manchester, UK
2) Centre for Applications of Health Psychology, University of Southampton, UK
3) Centre for Biostatistics, Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester, UK
4) Centre for Health Informatics, Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester, UK
*Correspondence should be addressed to Rebecca Band, Academic Unit of Psychology, University of Southampton, Shackleton Building, Highfield Campus, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK (email:



Significant other responses to patients’ symptoms are important for patient illness outcomes in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME); negative responses have been associated with increased patient depression, whilst increased disability and fatigue have been associated with solicitous significant other responses. The current study aimed to examine the relationship between significant other responses and patient outcomes within the context of daily life.


Experience Sampling Methodology (ESM).


Twenty-three patients with CFS/ME and their significant others were recruited from specialist CFS/ME services. Sixty momentary assessments, delivered using individual San Francisco Android Smartphones, were conducted over a period of 6 days. All participants reported on affect, dyadic contact, and significant other responses to the patient. Patients reported on symptom severity, disability, and activity management strategies.


Negative significant other responses were associated with increased patient symptom severity and distress reported at the same momentary assessment; there was evidence of a potentially mediating role of concurrent distress on symptom severity. Patient-perceived solicitous responses were associated with reduced patient activity and disability reported at the same momentary assessment. Lagged analyses indicate that momentary associations between significant other responses and patient outcomes are largely transitory; significant other responses were not associated with any of the patient outcomes at the subsequent assessment.


The results indicate that significant other responses are important influences on the day-to-day experience of CFS/ME. Further research examining patient outcomes in association with specific significant other behavioural responses is warranted and future interventions that target such significant other behaviours may be beneficial.

5 thoughts on “TGI Friday! Our weekly round-up of recently published research abstracts | 8 January 2015”

  1. If it looks like a duck, talks like a duck, it probably is a duck. The same goes for psychobabble.

  2. You’ve hit the nail on the head, Hope and Findlow. How on earth do these people lay their hands on scarce research funds to produce (sorry, ‘momentarily deliver’) gobbledegook like this.
    It’s a linguistic disgrace and a scientific farce – well, it is the panto season; perhaps that explains it.

    1. It is a small scale study and it is not really important. It’s a PhD thesis so there is not much in the way of public funding beyond what goes into education. I have no idea what the reputation of the journal is, it isn’t one of the big names. The student gets a publication to add to their CV and the other authors are the teachers adding publications to their bag but they probably were not heavily involved in the research. Typically of this kind of research and paper, it is rather a number soup. The number of participants is small and although none of them dropped out, the number of data points falls well short of plan.

      The patient group are selected from treatment centres and are undergoing CBT/GET. The preamble describes CFS as Fukuda 1994 but patients are actually diagnosed according to Oxford criteria, you know the one, the one the Americans say is harmful to patients and should be retired.

      The purpose of the research is to complete a piece of work to satisfy their PhD examiners. Much of the discussion in the paper is to show her knowledge of the psychology literature. I find it quite amusing that she got a result contrary to her expectation and is busy trying to explain it away to fit the psychiatric model of CFS. The whole paper is predicated on that and there is no reference to any medical work, but copious references to the co-authors and other psychiatrists.

  3. Thank you JCB for the explanation. It’s sad to see that a thesis contains such an unhealthy look at how students are being trained and conditioned into a set way of thinking.

    Where did common sense go?

    I think we need a JCB to shovel up the mess.

Comments are closed.

Shopping Basket