Childhood trauma in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: focus on personality disorders and psychopathology

Naia Sáez-Francàs, Natalia Calvo, José Alegre, Jesús Castro-Marrero, Nicolás Ramírez, Jorge Hernández-Vara, Miguel Casas

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6 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Elsevier Inc. Introduction Personality Disorders (PDs) and childhood traumatic experiences have been considered risk factors for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). However, the relationship between these factors and their associated psychopathological impact has not been explored in this population. This study was designed to evaluate the association between different childhood traumas and the presence and number of PDs and current psychopathology in a sample of CFS patients. Material and methods For this purpose, 166 CFS patients were evaluated with the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4+ (PDQ-4+) and the Child Trauma Questionnaire. Other instruments were used to assess the associated psychopathology and the impact of fatigue. Results Of the total sample, 55 (33.1%) presented childhood trauma, the most frequent of which were emotional neglect (21.7%) and emotional abuse (18.1%). Considering PD presence, 79 (47.6%) patients presented some PD. There were no differences in frequency of physical childhood trauma in patients with and without PD. However, patients with PD had more frequently experienced emotional childhood trauma (OR = 2.18, p = 0.034). Severity of childhood trauma was related to a higher number of PDs, more severe depressive symptoms (p = 0.025) and suicide risk (p = 0.001). Patients with PD and any childhood trauma presented more severe depressive and irritable symptoms and a higher suicide risk than those without any PD and non-childhood traumatic event. These patients' psychopathological symptoms were similar to those of patients with childhood trauma and without PD. Conclusions These results suggest that emotional childhood trauma but not physical childhood trauma is related to higher frequency of PD presence. More severe childhood emotional and physical traumas are related to a higher number of PDs and to more severe psychopathological symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number51538
Pages (from-to)13-19
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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