Longitudinal stability of fibromyalgia symptom clusters

Tanya L. Hoskin, Mary O. Whipple, Sanjeev Nanda, Ann Vincent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Using self-report questionnaires of key fibromyalgia symptom domains (pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, function, stiffness, dyscognition, depression, and anxiety), we previously identified four unique symptom clusters. The purpose of this study was to examine the stability of fibromyalgia symptom clusters between baseline and 2-year follow-up. Methods: Women with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia completed the Brief Pain Inventory, Profile of Mood States, Medical Outcomes Study Sleep measure, Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory, Multiple Ability Self-Report Questionnaire, Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, and the 36-Item Short Form Survey Instrument at baseline. Follow-up measures were completed approximately 2 years later. The hierarchical agglomerative clustering algorithm previously developed was applied; agreement between baseline and follow-up was assessed with the Κ statistic. Results: Among 433 participants, the mean age was 56 (range 20-85) years. The median Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire total score was 57 (range 8-96). More than half of participants (58%) remained in the same cluster at follow-up as at baseline, which represented moderate agreement between baseline and follow-up (Κ = 0.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.37-0.50). Only two patients changed from high symptom intensity to low symptom intensity; similarly, only three moved from low to high. Conclusions: Fibromyalgia patients classified into four unique symptom clusters based on the key domains of pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, function, stiffness, dyscognition, depression, and anxiety showed moderate stability in cluster assignment after 2 years. Few patients moved between the two extremes of severity, and it was slightly more common to move to a lower symptom level than to worsen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number37
JournalArthritis Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 27 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).


  • Fibromyalgia
  • Longitudinal
  • Symptom cluster
  • Symptom stability


Dive into the research topics of 'Longitudinal stability of fibromyalgia symptom clusters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this