Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behaviour
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Background: Individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) experience progressive changes in functional status with the development of secondary impairments such as fatigue. Detailed accounts of the fatigue experience in CP are lacking.
Purpose: This study describes the severity and variability of fatigue in CP using the Fatigue Impact and Severity Self-Assessment.
Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study surveying 130 (61 males) individuals (mean age 18 years, 11 months; SD four years, six months) with CP. Analyses comprised comparisons between two groups (Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) I and II-V), frequency counts and proportions.
Results: Significant differences exist between GMFCS groups for all fatigue severity questions. In addition, 38% of individuals classified as GMFCS level I reported their average fatigue as moderate to severe and 53% experienced fatigue on three or more days in the previous week. Sixty-eight percent of individuals classified as GMFCS II-V reported their average fatigue to be moderate to severe and 78% were fatigued on three or more days in the previous week.
Conclusions: Fatigue is a highly individualized phenomenon with significant burden for individuals with CP regardless of functional ability. Individuals in GMFCS Levels II-V reported increased fatigue severity and would benefit from specific management interventions.