The Use of Polysymptomatic Distress Categories in the Evaluation of Fibromyalgia (FM) and FM Severity

Frederick Wolfe, Brian T. Walitt, Johannes J. Rasker, Robert S. Katz, Winfried Häuser

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51 Citations (Scopus)


Objective The polysymptomatic distress (PSD) scale is derived from variables used in the 2010 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) fibromyalgia (FM) criteria modified for survey and clinical research. The scale is useful in measuring the effect of PSD over the full range of pain-related clinical symptoms, not just in those who are FM criteria-positive. However, no PSD scale categories have been defined to distinguish severity of illness in FM or in those who do not satisfy the FM criteria. We analyzed the scale and multiple covariates to develop clinical categories and to further validate the scale. Methods FM was diagnosed according to the research criteria modification of the 2010 ACR FM criteria. We investigated categories in a large database of patients with pain (2732 with rheumatoid arthritis) and developed categories by using germane clinic variables that had been previously studied for severity groupings. By definition, FM cannot be diagnosed unless PSD is at least 12. Results Based on population categories, regression analysis, and inspections of curvilinear relationships, we established PSD severity categories of none (0–3), mild (4–7), moderate (8–11), severe (12–19), and very severe (20–31). Categories were statistically distinct, and a generally linear relationship between PSD categories and covariate severity was noted. Conclusion PSD categories are clinically relevant and demonstrate FM type symptoms over the full range of clinical illness. Although FM criteria can be clinically useful, there is no clear-cut symptom distinction between FM (+) and FM (–), and PSD categories can aid in more effectively classifying patients
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1494-1501
JournalJournal of rheumatology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • IR-96049
  • METIS-310651


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