Authors Silvia M. Bigatti, Ph.D., of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and Terry A. Cronan, Ph.D., of San Diego State University recruited 135 male volunteers whose wives or long-term partners suffered from fibromyalgia syndrome. For purposes of comparison, the investigators also recruited 153 men with healthy wives from the same Southern California HMO.
All of the men completed questionnaires revealing details of their physical and emotional health. The men whose wives suffered from fibromyalgia also indicated how much the illness had affected their lives. A review of each mans medical records revealed how extensively he had used health care services during the previous year.
The results, published in the March issue of Health Psychology, reveal that despite a few significant differences between the two groups of men, the men whose wives face fibromyalgia are more average than expected in several ways.
While the spouses of fibromyalgia patients are in poorer health than the spouses of well women, their health scores are still within normal range for their age. The observed differences in health scores do not appear to be related to the severity of their wives illness, or to its perceived effect.
Spouses of women with fibromyalgia do experience more depression and loneliness, and report more stress and fatigue, than spouses of well women. However, scores for all three problems generally fall within, or very close to, normal range. In addition, other indicators of psychosocial well-being -- including self-rated satisfaction with life, tension and anxiety -- were similar in the
Contact: Sivia M. Bigatti, Ph.D.
Center for the Advancement of Health