Chronic fatigue syndrome: comparing outcomes in White British and Black and minority ethnic patients after cognitive-behavioural therapy

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Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most promising treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). It is unclear whether CBT is effective for Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups.


To assess the effectiveness of CBT in BME patients compared with White British patients presenting to a specialist CFS service.


Data from 67 (19.0%) BME participants and 285 (81.0%) White British participants referred to a specialist CFS service in the UK were collected at baseline and after CBT treatment.


Pairwise comparisons revealed that both BME participants and White British participants significantly improved on measures of fatigue severity (P<0.001), physical functioning (P<0.001) and work/social adjustment (P<0.001). Independent samples t-tests showed that BME participants improved despite exhibiting significantly higher baseline damage beliefs (P = 0.009), catastrophising (P = 0.024), all-or-nothing behaviour (P = 0.036) and avoidance/resting behaviour (P = 0.001), compared with White British participants.


To our knowledge, this study is the first to indicate that CBT is effective for treating CFS in a group of patients from diverse BME backgrounds.

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