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OBJECTIVE: The cognitive-behavioral model of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) proposes that rigidly held beliefs act to defend individuals against low self-esteem. This study is the first to investigate the prevalence of a potential mechanism, the Defensive High Anxious coping style, among individuals with CFS. METHODS: The study comprised 68 participants (24 CFS; 24 healthy volunteers; 20 chronic illness volunteers). Participants completed the Bendig short form of the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale (B-MAS) and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MC) in order to ascertain the distribution of participants in each group within the four coping styles defined by Weinberger et al. [J. Abnorm. Psychol. 88 (1979) 369]. RESULTS: A greater number of participants in the CFS group (46%) were classified as Defensive High Anxious compared to the two comparison groups [chi(2)(2)=8.84, P=.012]. CONCLUSION: This study provides support for the existence of defensive coping mechanisms as described by the cognitive-behavioral model of CFS. Furthermore, it has been suggested that this particular coping style may impinge directly on physical well being through similar mechanisms as identified in CFS, and further research linking these areas of research is warranted.

Original publication




Journal article


J Psychosom Res

Publication Date





607 - 610


Adaptation, Psychological, Adolescent, Adult, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Defense Mechanisms, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic, Female, Humans, Male, Manifest Anxiety Scale, Personality Inventory, Self Concept, Social Desirability