Health-Related Quality of Life in Fibromyalgia: A Descriptive Study

Date of Graduation

Spring 2005


Master of Science in Nursing



Committee Chair

Kathryn Hope


Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder of musculoskeletal pain that affects three to six million people in the United States (Smith, 1998). Fibromyalgia causes significant pain and fatigue, which can have an adverse affect on the patient’s health-related quality of life. The purpose of this study was to describe the health-related quality of life experienced by women with fibromyalgia and to compare it with normative data for the U.S. population. A convenience sample of 41 patients who participated in the fibromyalgia program at a Midwestern health care center was used. The SF-36 Health Survey was used to measure health-related quality of life. The fibromyalgia patients in the present sample closely paralleled fibromyalgia patients in prior studies, both demographically and in the results of the SF-36 subscales. Severe impairments were found in role-physical functioning and vitality, moderate to severe impairments were found in physical functioning, social functioning, and bodily pain. The fibromyalgia patients in the present study had a decreased health-related quality of life compared to the normative female U.S. population. When compared to the normative population, the fibromyalgia group was found to have severe impairments in vitality and role-physical functioning. They were found to have moderate to severe impairments in role-emotional functioning, social functioning, physical functioning, bodily pain, and general health perceptions, and they were found to have mild to moderately severe impairments in mental health. The results of this study will add to the understanding of the effects of fibromyalgia on the dimensions of health-related quality of life.


fibromyalgia, SF-36, health-related quality of life, chronic pain, rheumatologic disorders

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© Laura D. Richter