Chronic Fatigue Syndrome : an investigation into the inter-relationships between self-esteem, preferred coping strategies and illness representations

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Casserly, Lisa
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BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Recent studies have shown a significant correlation between illness representations and coping strategy preferences in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (Moss-Morns et al., 1996). Relationships between self-esteem and preferred coping strategies have also been found (Gumakova, 2000; Fickova & Korcove, 2000). This study aimed to investigate the inter-relationships between self-esteem, coping strategies and illness representations in the context of chronic fatigue syndrome. Participants were all members of the Irish M.E. Trust. Data was collected using questionnaire based measures of illness cognitions, coping styles and self-esteem. Significant correlation between self-esteem, coping strategies and illness representations was expected. Results were analysed using a correlation coefficient. Significant correlations were found between illness representation components and preferred coping strategies but no significant relationship was found between self-esteem and either illness representation or coping strategies. Explanations for these results were offered along with implications regarding a better understanding of CFS. The possible development of more effective methods of treating the illness by combining psychological components with medicine were discussed. Issues of a theoretical and methodological nature were also addressed.