Pain Is Not the Major Determinant of Quality of Life in Fibromyalgia: Results From a Retrospective “Real World” Data Analysis of Fibromyalgia Patients

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Objective: To identify correlates of quality of life (QoL) measured with the Quality of Life Scale (QOLS) in participants of a multidisciplinary day hospital treatment program for fibromyalgia (FM). Methods: In this cross-sectional, observational study, “real world” data from 480 FM patients including socio-demographics, pain variables and questionnaires such as the SF-36, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Multiphasic Pain Inventory (MPI), SCL-90-R and others were categorized according to the components (body structure and function, activities and participation, personal factors, environmental factors) of the International Classification of Functioning (ICF). For every ICF component, a linear regression analysis with QOLS as the dependent variable was computed. A final comprehensive model was calculated on the basis of the results of the five independent analyses. Results: The following variables could be identified as main correlates for QoL in FM, explaining 56% of the variance of the QOLS (subscale/questionnaire and standardized beta in parenthesis): depression (− 0.22), pain-related interference with everyday life (− 0.19), general activity (0.13), general health perception (0.11), punishing response from others (− 0.11), work status (− 0.10), vitality (− 0.11) and cognitive difficulties (− 0.12). Pain intensity or frequency was not an independent correlate. Conclusions: More than 50% of QoL variance could be explained by distinct self-reported variables with neither pain intensity nor pain frequency playing a major role. Therefore, FM treatment should not primarily concentrate on pain but should address multiple factors within multidisciplinary therapy.