Cognitive behavioural therapy for reducing fatigue in post-polio syndrome and in facioscapulohumeral dystrophy: A comparison

Fieke S. Koopman*, Merel A. Brehm, Anita Beelen, Nicole Voet, Gijs Bleijenberg, Alexander Geurts, Frans Nollet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Cognitive behavioural therapy does not reduce fatigue in post-polio syndrome, but is effective in facioscapulohumeral dystrophy. This difference in efficacy might be explained by a different role of cognitions in these conditions. Objective: To compare fatigue-related cognitions between patients with post-polio syndrome and facioscapulohumeral dystrophy. Subjects: Patients with post-polio syndrome (n = 21) and facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (n = 24) allocated to a cognitive behavioural therapy intervention in 2 identical trials. Methods: Assessed cognitions included: sense of control over fatigue; catastrophizing; acceptance; focusing on fatigue; and perceived social support. Group differences in cognitions (independent t-tests or Mann-Whitney U tests) and group differences in the association of cognitions with fatigue (linear regression models) were studied. Results: No differences in cognitions were found between the 2 groups (p > 0.18). Furthermore, there were no cognition-by-group interaction effects, except for "perceived social support", for which a different association with fatigue was found between the 2 groups (p = 0.01). However, univariate models revealed no associations per group. Conclusion: Fatigue-related cognitions in severely fatigued patients with post-polio syndrome are not clearly different from those in facioscapulohumeral dystrophy. Thus, the lack of efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy in post-polio syndrome cannot be attributed to unique cognitive characteristics of this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-590
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

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