Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Health Sciences


Audrey J. Burnett

Andrew Fink

Monica Reis-Bergan


The purpose of this study was to further investigate the relationship between perceived stress and symptom severity in women with fibromyalgia and analyze the relationship between perceived stress management and symptom severity. This quasi-experimental, mixed methods design consisted of an anonymous online survey using three different instruments that measured perceived stress levels, symptom severity, and perceived effectiveness of stress management. Thirty-four women living in Virginia diagnosed with fibromyalgia participated in the study. The women in the sample were separated into groups depending on their perceived level of stress and perceived effectiveness of stress management. T-tests were conducted to compare symptom factors across the cohorts. Significant differences and meaningful differences were found between groups for certain symptom factors. According to the results, fatigue, depression, anxiety, overall mean symptom scores, the number of days that patients missed events, and the number of days that patients felt bad were positively associated with increased levels of perceived stress. Lower levels of perceived stress management effectiveness were negatively associated with physical impairment, pain levels, difficulty in work ability, depression, overall mean symptom scores, stiffness, and poorer sleep quality. Common stress management techniques included spending time with others/pets, reading, listening to music, and withdrawing from activities. Avoiding stressful people/events and listening to music were reported as the most effective ways to avoid stress and manage stress, respectively.



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