The aim of the study was to compare psychological characteristics of adolescent patients with Juvenile Fibromyalgia Syndrome (JFM) with individuals suffering from chronic pain (CP) due to headache or joint pain in the lower limbs unrelated to oncological, inflammatory or autoimmune diseases.
The study was conducted on 37 patients aged 13 to 18 years old, monitored at the Pain Therapy Outpatient Clinic of the “Bambino Gesù” Pediatric Hospital in Rome. 21 patients were suffering from CP (headache and recurrent arthralgia) and 16 from JFM, diagnosed according to the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). All subjects were evaluated by a pain therapy specialist, a rheumatologist and a clinical psychologist for the following psycho-emotional areas and/ or characteristics: cognitive abilities, attention, memory, learning, alexithymia, somatisation, anxiety, depression, coping skills. A clinical psychologist interviewed all patients to assess: school absences, the use of analgesic medication, the presence of sleep disorders (e.g. non-restorative sleep) and the intensity of perceived pain.
Similarities emerged between the two groups in the presence of depression, anxiety, somatisation, alexithymia, school absenteeism, medication use and reported pain level. The peculiar characteristics of the JFM group, which emerged from our pilot study, were the higher prevalence of the illness among women, a higher incidence of sleep disturbances, and a better cognitive endowment, despite some attention and mnemonic deficiencies.
To conclude, the present study suggests that the clinical and psychological characteristics of JFM appear to be similar to those found in the CP population.

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