Applications of health psychology for investigating fatigue: clinical and non-clinical perspectives


  • D. Powell
  • D. Johnston
  • J. Dörr
  • E. Couch
  • A. Groarke
  • S. Carroll


Aims: Promote health psychology research examining clinical and non-clinical fatigue; Present novel investigations of the theoretical underpinnings of fatigue; Explore synergy in methods used for studying clinical and non-clinical fatigue. Rationale: Fatigue is familiar to most as a non-clinical experience, often characterised by a reluctance to persist with the current task. As a clinical symptom, fatigue is quantitatively and qualitatively distinct: it can be severe and chronic, and frequently disabling. Health Psychology is important in furthering the understanding of fatigue in both domains, with physiological, behavioural, cognitive, and emotional factors to be considered as both determinants and outcomes. Investigating the effectiveness of interventions targeting modifiable determinants of fatigue is an important focus of research. This symposium brings together fatigue research in both non-clinical and clinical groups, highlighting where Health Psychology is likely to have a tangible and positive impact. Summary: A range of applications of health psychology for studying fatigue across different populations is presented. First, Derek Johnston talks about data from nurses testing a resource model and motivational model of cognitive fatigue. Next, Johanna Dörr presents work on associations of stress and cortisol with fatigue in young women with depression or somatic symptom disorder. Elyse Couch will then present on the importance of immediate/early gains (improvements) in determining the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for people with chronic fatigue syndrome. Next, AnnMarie Groarke will present feasibility and pilot testing of an online CBT-based intervention targeting fatigue in post-treatment cancer survivors. The final oral presentation, delivered by Susan Carroll, will discuss the development of a CBT based self-management treatment for fatigue in children and adolescents with multiple sclerosis. Lastly, Daniel Powell will lead a discussion with audience members and speakers on the role of health psychology in fatigue research.