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

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Abstract

▪ 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.

Aim:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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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