There has been little study conducted to date regarding the psychosocial risk factors for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in adolescent girls, however, the testing that has been conducted points toward therapy as a helpful tool in managing this condition.
Long Term Outcome for Adolescent Girls with CFS
Because CFS, like all chronic conditions, can be dependent on the individual's mood as well as physical complaints, young people with CFS might become depressed. Teenagers often display emotional outbursts and are moody due to hormones, but adding the physical ailments of CFS compounds every "normal" teenage issue.
Teenage sufferers of CFS tend to miss a lot of school (and their friends), have little participation in sports (or are not very accomplished in this area due to muscle fatigue), and go through phases of confusion and anger (the same as their peers). Yet, studies conducted in the Netherlands suggest that adolescent girls diagnosed with CFS are actually quite well adjusted. While they tended to internalize problems, they did not show an inappropriate amount of fear of failure, nor did they appear to have lost their self-esteem.
These adolescents did, however, have a more difficult time with some social interactions in age-appropriate matters, such as feeling competent in sporting or recreational activities and the romance department. The results indicate that, overall, these adolescents were well adjusted despite their illness, appeared to understand their weaknesses in athletic areas (while still competing to the best of their ability), and generally appeared to have a positive outlook on life. It was determined that an adjustment and coping strategy outline may be helpful where needed in individual rehabilitation classes.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Adolescent Girls with CFS
In another randomized study conducted to evaluate cognitive behavior therapy for girls ages 10 to 17, the Department of Child Psychology conducted 10 sessions over a five month period. The subjects were assessed before the sessions started and again at the end of the session period. At the beginning of the sessions, subjects indicated a high level of fatigue, were often absent, and did display a noticeable lack of confidence.
At the end of the study, however, all areas showed improvement. The subjects also claimed to feel better overall. These positive measures point toward cognitive behavior therapy as a very effective measure of treatment for adolescent girls who have CFS.