Weather, beliefs about weather, and disease severity among patients with fibromyalgia

Authors

  • Kristofer J. Hagglund PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Clinical Health Psychology and Neuropsychology, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, University of Missouri at Columbia
    • Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 501 Rusk Rehabilitation Center, 1 Hospital Drive, Columbia, MO 65212
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  • William E. Deuser MA,

    1. Division of Clinical Health Psychology and Neuropsychology, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, University of Missouri at Columbia
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  • Susan P. Buckelew PhD,

    1. Division of Clinical Health Psychology and Neuropsychology, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, University of Missouri at Columbia
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  • John Hewett PhD,

    1. Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, University of Missouri at Columbia, Columbia, Missouri
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  • Donald R. Kay MD

    1. Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, University of Missouri at Columbia, Columbia, Missouri
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Abstract

Objective. This investigation 1) examined the relationships among actual weather, disease severity, and symptoms for individuals with fibromyalgia, 2) assessed subjects' beliefs about weather affecting their symptoms, and 3) examined differences between individuals with high and low “weather sensitivity.”

Methods. Eighty-four individuals meeting Yunus' criteria for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia participated. Subjects completed the Weather and Pain Questionnaire (WPQ), the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales (AIMS), the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R), and a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) assessing pain. A tender point index and a myalgic score were also obtained.

Results. Subjects reported that weather affected musculoskeletal symptoms predominantly. The strongest relationship was found between weather beliefs and self-reported pain scores. Subjects with high weather sensitivity tended to have more functional impairment and psychological distress.

Conclusions. Individuals with fibromyalgia believe that weather worsens their symptoms, but it is unlikely that physiologic changes are associates with actual weather.

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