Arch Dis Child. 2008 Nov 11. [Epub ahead of print]


Association between school absence and physical function in paediatric CFS/ME.


Crawley E, Sterne J. Bristol University, United Kingdom.



OBJECTIVE: To investigate factors associated with school attendance and physical function in paediatric Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalopathy (CFS/ME).


DESIGN: Cross sectional study.


SETTING: Regional specialist CFS/ME service. Patients: Children and young people aged <18.


OUTCOME MEASURES: Self reported school attendance and physical function measured using the physical function subscale of the SF36.


METHODS: Linear and logistic regression analysis of data from self completed assessment forms on children attending a regional specialist service between 2004 and 2007. Analyses were done in two groups of children: (1) with a completed Spence Children's Anxiety Scale (SCAS) and (2) with a completed Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).


RESULTS: Of 211 children with CFS/ME, 62% attended 40% of school or less. In children with completed SCAS, those with better physical function were more likely to attend school (adjusted OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.36 to 2.13). This was also true for those with completed HADS (adjusted OR 2.05 95% CI 1.4, 3.01). Increasing fatigue and pain and low mood were associated with worse physical function. There was no evidence that anxiety, gender, age at assessment, family history of CFS/ME or time from onset of symptoms to assessment in clinic were associated with school attendance or physical function.


IMPLICATIONS: Paediatricians should recognise that reduced school attendance is associated with reduced physical function rather than anxiety. Improving school attendance in children with CFS/ME should focus on evidence-based interventions to improve physical function, particularly concentrating on interventions that are likely to reduce pain and fatigue.


PMID: 19001477 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]




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