Evaluating the comprehensive fatigue assessment battery for adults with spinal cord injury (2016)
Background: Individuals living with spinal cord injuries (SCI) are faced with the increased likelihood of secondary health complications, affecting their physical and psychological functioning. Fatigue is among the most common of these problems and has been shown to profoundly affect the lives of people living with SCI. To develop effective fatigue management programs, clinicians first must be able to identify potential causes of fatigue. However, to our knowledge, there is currently no validated, comprehensive assessment battery of this kind. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to test the convergent validity, and internal consistency of a novel Comprehensive Fatigue Assessment Battery for People with Spinal Cord Injury (CFAB-SCI) and to further our understanding of fatigue in SCI. Methods: Seventy community-dwelling adults with SCI were recruited. The participants completed the CFAB-SCI as well as six additional self-report measures to assess convergent validity with six matching sections of the battery. Convergent validity was assessed via Spearman’s ρ correlation, and internal consistency via Cronbach’s α. Open-ended survey data from the CFAB-SCI was analyzed to explore fatigue using a content analysis approach. Results: A total of 64 participants competed the study. Convergent validity and internal consistency values all exceeded the hypothesized values. Content analysis of text data revealed four major groupings when participants were asked to tell us more about their fatigue: 1) experience with fatigue; 2) impact of fatigue; 3) factors of fatigue; and 4) management of fatigue. Significance: Evidence reveals the complexity of fatigue and supports the validity and reliability of the self-report CFAB-SCI as a comprehensive, clinically useful tool to characterize fatigue in SCI. It will offer people with SCI an understanding of factors that may contribute to their fatigue experience and will direct the treatment decisions of clinicians who are intervening to mitigate the impact of fatigue.