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Keywords:

  • anxiety;
  • depression;
  • fatigue;
  • HIV/AIDS;
  • nurses;
  • nursing;
  • quality of life symptom control

Aims and objectives.  Describe patterns of morning and evening fatigue in adults with HIV and examine their relationship to demographic and clinical factors and other symptoms.

Background.  Most studies of HIV-related fatigue assess average levels of fatigue and do not address its diurnal fluctuations. Patterns of fatigue over the course of the day may have important implications for assessment and treatment.

Design.  A cross-sectional, correlational design was used with six repeated measures over 72 hours.

Method.  A convenience sample of 318 HIV-infected adults was recruited in San Francisco. Socio-demographic, clinical and symptom data were collected with questionnaires. CD4+ T-cell count and viral load were obtained from medical records. Participants completed a four-item version of the Lee Fatigue Scale each morning and evening for three consecutive days. Participants were grouped based on their diurnal pattern of fatigue (high evening only, high morning only, high morning and evening and low morning and evening). Group comparisons and logistic regression were used to determine the unique predictors of each fatigue pattern.

Results.  The high evening fatigue pattern was associated with anxiety and the high morning pattern was associated with anxiety and depression. The morning fatigue pattern showed very little fluctuation between morning and evening, the evening pattern showed the largest fluctuation. The high morning and evening pattern was associated with anxiety, depression and sleep disturbance and this group reported the most fatigue-related distress and interference in functioning.

Conclusions.  These results provide initial evidence for the importance of assessing the patient’s daily pattern of fatigue fluctuation, as different patterns were associated with different symptom experiences and perhaps different aetiologies.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Different fatigue patterns may benefit from tailored intervention strategies. Management of depressive symptoms could be tested in patients who experience high levels of morning fatigue.