Researchers Investigate the Importance of Fatigue in SSc

One of the most common and problematic symptoms in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) is fatigue, causing patients to withdraw from social participation and experience a decreased quality of life.

Researchers found that interventions focusing on managing fatigue in daily life proved vital in improving functioning, quality of life, and encouraging social participation.

A clinical trial, including 267 participants, noted fatigue, social participation, physical function, pain interference, and depressive symptoms. All these factors were assessed as the baseline study by measures from the Patient‐Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System.

“Hierarchical linear regressions were performed to determine the unique contribution of fatigue to social participation, physical function, and quality of life above and beyond the effects of demographic and clinical variables, pain interference, and depressive symptoms,” the authors reported.

The majority of participants in the study were female (91%) and aged 53 years on average. These patients also had an average disease duration of 9 years, and a fatigue T score of 58.7.

“Of all outcomes, fatigue was most strongly associated with deficits in social participation, explaining 48% of the variance beyond demographic and clinical factors, which is similar to the amount of variance contributed by pain interference and depressive symptoms combined (49%). Fatigue also accounted for significant amounts of variance in physical function and quality of life above and beyond the effects of demographic and clinical factors,” the authors concluded.

--Angelique Platas



Murphy S, Kratz A, Whibley D, Poole J, Khanna D. Fatigue and its association with social participation, functioning, and quality of life in systemic sclerosis. Arthritis Care Res. 2021; 73(3): 415-422. doi: