Fatigue is a common complaint of patients seen in primary care. Factors that contribute to fatigue in a patient population include poor health status, psychological stress, poor nutrition, and pregnancy. Less well understood are factors that contribute to fatigue among healthy, nonpregnant individuals. Within the framework of the theory of unpleasant symptoms, 40 healthy young smoking and nonsmoking adults between the ages of 18 and 35 were evaluated to determine self-report level of fatigue and contributing physiological, psychological, and situational factors. Results indicate that while self-report of fatigue did not vary in this population based on gender, subjects who were moderate to heavy cigarette smokers were significantly more fatigued than were nonsmokers (F= 10.24, df = 1, 38, P < 0.01), with the effect being specific to male smokers. Self-report of fatigue did not correlate with body mass index, baseline inflammatory or immune status, or blood pressure. Positive psychological and situational predictors of fatigue included depression (r = 0.556, P < 0.001), state anxiety (r = 0.569, P < 0.001), sleep quality (r = –0.399, P < 0.05), and sleep quantity (r = –0.411, P < 0.05). These results suggest that psychological and situational factors are key contributors to fatigue in young adults and that smoking is a risk factor for fatigue in men.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Research and Theory