Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome patients' reports of symptom changes following cognitive behavioural therapy, graded exercise therapy and pacing treatments: Analysis of a primary survey compared with secondary surveys

Keith Geraghty, Mark Hann, Stoyan Kurtev

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Cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise therapy are promoted as evidence-based treatments for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. This article explores patients' symptom responses following these treatments versus pacing therapy, an approach favoured by many sufferers. We analyse data from a large cross-sectional patient survey ( n = 1428) and compare our findings with those from comparable patient surveys ( n = 16,665), using a mix of descriptive statistics and regression analysis modelling. Findings from analysis of primary and secondary surveys suggest that cognitive behavioural therapy is of benefit to a small percentage of patients (8%-35%), graded exercise therapy brings about large negative responses in patients (54%-74%), while pacing is the most favoured treatment with the lowest negative response rate and the highest reported benefit (44%-82%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1318-1333
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number10
Early online date29 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2017 by SAGE Publications


  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • graded exercise therapy
  • patient satisfaction
  • treatment

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