An exploratory study of long-term health outcomes following an in-patient multidisciplinary program for people with fibromyalgia syndrome


: Dr Douglas H. N. White, QE Health, Whakaue Street, Rotorua, New Zealand. Email:


Objective:  To examine the health status of people with fibromyalgia syndrome approximately 10 years after an intensive rehabilitation intervention to identify biopsychosocial factors for further research.

Methods:  Baseline data, collected upon admission to the rehabilitation intervention was compared to follow-up data collected by telephone interview. Data was evaluated for differences and relationships using the appropriate parametric or non-parametric tests.

Results:  The 29 participants were interviewed an average of 9.4 years after their admissions. All participants reported the persistence of fibromyalgia and use of related medication. Differences between baseline and follow-up were: increased paid employment (P < 0.001), social networks (P < 0.05) and decreased stress levels (P < 0.05). Correlations with paid employment were: younger age (rs = –0.66, P < 0.01); larger social networks (rs = –0.40, P < 0.05) and transformation rehabilitation intervention experience (rs = .46, P < 0.05). Follow-up stress and sleep status were also related (rs = 0.46, P < 0.05).

Conclusion:  Fibromyalgia symptoms and medication use persist over time. The wider issues concerning social integration and participation appear to be worthy of further investigation.