Efficacy of executive functioning in fibromyalgia patients

S.F.V. Sondaal, J.M. Oosterman, D.S. Veldhuijzen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterOther research output


Background and Aims: Few studies have assessed cognitive functioning in fibromyalgia despite the fact that cognitive complaints are quite common. Previous findings of anatomical alterations in the prefrontal cortex in fibromyalgia suggest that executive functioning may be specifically affected. The aim of the current study was therefore to examine executive functioning in fibromyalgia patients compared to healthy controls.
Methods: Thirty-five female fibromyalgia patients and thirty-five age-matched healthy female controls participated in this study. Executive functioning was examined with a computerized version of the Stroop Color-Word test and the Multisource Interference Test (MSIT). All participants completed several psychosocial questionnaires examining potential pain-mediating factors such as catastrophizing, depression, and anxiety.

Results: Significant group differences were found in Stroop and MSIT performance in both neutral (N) and interference (I) task conditions. Psychosocial variables did not mediate these group differences. No significant group differences were found for the difference (I-N) or proportion (I/N) scores or on the number of errors made, indicating that interference performance was not affected in fibromyalgia patients.
Conclusions: No evidence was found for a specific problem in executive functioning in fibromyalgia since patients did not perform worse on the interference condition compared to the control condition on both tasks. The general pattern of decreased reaction time performance on both the Stroop and the MSIT may point to an underlying problem of psychomotor slowing in patients with fibromyalgia.

Acknowledgements: This study was supported by an EFIC-Grünenthal Grant (DSV).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2011
EventEFIC Pain Congress 2011 - Hamburg, Duitsland
Duration: 21 Sept 201124 Sept 2011


ConferenceEFIC Pain Congress 2011
CityHamburg, Duitsland


  • Econometric and Statistical Methods: General
  • Geneeskunde (GENK)
  • Geneeskunde(GENK)
  • Medical sciences
  • Bescherming en bevordering van de menselijke gezondheid


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