• Quality of life;
  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Coping strategies;
  • Treatment



To collect information from patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) in regard to quality of life, impact of FMS, coping strategies, and what they want from their health care providers.


Two hundred seventy support group members in Washington, Illinois, and Pennsylvania completed an 85-item questionnaire.


On a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being highest positive rating), patients ranked past quality of life as 8.6, present quality of life as 4.8, and future quality of life without FMS as 9.2. Respondents indicated that FMS has had a negative impact on personal relationships, career, and mental health. Many also reported a lack of social support. Most respondents reported a variety of coping responses including talking to friends, praying, exercise, hobbies, relaxation techniques, talking to a professional, and meditation. Patients reported needing more support, better educated health professionals, for people to believe that this disease exists, more funding for research, and better diagnostic tools.


Health care workers need to be cognizant of the effect FMS has on quality of life. Treatment options should not be limited to prescription medication therapy. Patients are using a variety of methods to cope with their FMS symptoms, some positive, but others that are negative, and health care providers need to be alert to negative coping strategies such as alcohol and nonprescription medication abuse.