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Looking for info on research looking at patient beliefs and outcomes


Senior Member
Hi Guys, there was a crap interview with a doctor promoting the HPV vaccine on Irish radio this morning, where she totally downplayed the severity of ME. She made a few misleading and incorrect comments. One of them was that she spouted the CBT-line that if patients believe they have a serious underlying disease causing their symptoms that it will lead to a poorer outcome. I am pretty sure that even CBT researchers couldn't prove this, and actually had some research that showed this wasn't the case. But I can't remember the research. If anyone can remember I'd be grateful for some pointers of where to look. It would be good to have some research data to show that beliefs were not the issue.

Admitedly, the more severe, and actually suffering from ME as opposed to fatigue, patients could have stronger beliefs about the cause of the illness as it is more obvious that it is physical, but I am pretty sure there is research out there that showed beliefs didn't affect outcomes.


Senior Member

J Psychosom Res. 1998 Jul;45(1):77-83.
Illness beliefs and treatment outcome in chronic fatigue syndrome.
Deale A1, Chalder T, Wessely S.
Author information

Longitudinal studies have shown that physical illness attributions are associated with poor prognosis in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Speculation exists over whether such attributions influence treatment outcome. This study reports the effect of illness beliefs on outcome in a randomized controlled trial of cognitive-behavior therapy versus relaxation. Causal attributions and beliefs about exercise, activity, and rest were recorded before and after treatment in 60 CFS patients recruited to the trial. Physical illness attributions were widespread, did not change with treatment, and were not associated with poor outcome in either the cognitive-behavior therapy group or the control group. Beliefs about avoidance of exercise and activity changed in the cognitive behavior therapy group, but not in the control group. This change was associated with improved outcome. These findings suggest that physical illness attributions are less important in determining outcome (at least in treatment studies) than has been previously thought. In this study, good outcome is associated with change in avoidance behavior, and related beliefs, rather than causal attributions.


[Indexed for MEDLINE]
That piece of research is good on the physical illness beliefs bit, but a bit of a double edged sword as one to quote, as it goes on to make crap conclusions about fear avoidance beliefs. I'd be careful quoting this one.
Sorry, several edits. Brain fog.