Gender Differences in Patients with Fibromyalgia Undergoing Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia: Preliminary Data

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▪ Abstract

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic musculoskeletal pain syndrome that significantly affects patients’ quality of life. Its main symptoms are pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances.


The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) in men and women with FM and compare sleep and clinical features between both genders.


Fifteen women and 13 men were selected to participate in nine weekly CBT-I sessions that involved completing several self-reported questionnaires at pretreatment, post-treatment, and follow-up. Patients were recruited from the Rheumatology Service and Pain Unit of Hospital and a fibromyalgia association. Group psychotherapy was performed at clinical unit of the Faculty of Psychology.


Both groups showed significant clinical and statistical improvements in sleep quality and the main symptoms associated with FM (ie, pain intensity, fatigue, anxiety, pain catastrophizing, and pain-related anxiety). Differential treatment responsiveness between sexes was observed. Male group exhibited significant changes at post-treatment in sleep disturbances and pain-related anxiety and catastrophizing. The female group showed post-treatment improvements in sleep latency, general fatigue, and depression, which persisted at follow-up.


Differential responses to treatment between men and women were observed in some sleep- and pain-related variables. Outcomes show the needed to design different treatments for men and women with FM is discussed.

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