Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating illness, but it is unclear if patient age and illness duration might affect symptoms and functioning of patients. In the current study, participants were categorized into four groups based upon age (under or over age 55) and illness duration (more or less than 10 years). The groups were compared on functioning and symptoms. Findings indicated that those who were older with a longer illness duration had significantly higher levels of mental health functioning than those who were younger with a shorter or longer illness duration and the older group with a shorter illness duration. The results suggest that older patients with an illness duration of over 10 years have significantly higher levels of mental health functioning than the three other groups. For symptoms, the younger/longer illness duration group had significantly worse immune and autonomic domains than the older/longer illness group. In addition, the younger patients with a longer illness duration displayed greater autonomic and immune symptoms in comparison to the older group with a longer illness duration. These findings suggest that both age and illness duration need to be considered when trying to understand the influence of these factors on patients.
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