All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Michael Crowe

Advisory Committee Members

Melissa Buelow

Jarred Younger

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


Fibromyalgia is a disease that encompasses difficulties with pain, physical function, and emotion, but is also characterized by complaints of poor cognition. Over the last two decades, a vast amount of literature has tested for cognitive differences between individuals with and without fibromyalgia. The purpose of the current study was to conduct a quantitative synthesis on these differences across multiple cognitive domains. After a systematic search of eligible studies, random-effect meta-analyses were conducted on effect sizes (Hedges’ g) derived from 37 cross-sectional studies covering domains of processing speed, memory and executive function. Participants included persons with fibromyalgia (total n = 964) and participants from age-matched control groups without fibromyalgia (total n = 1,025). Results showed the largest deficit on inhibitory control, an aspect of executive function (g = .66), moderate deficits on measures of short-term and long-term memory, working memory, and premorbid intelligence (gs range from .44 to .51), and small deficits on the executive components of set-shifting (g = .30) and accessing ability (g = .38). These findings suggest that screening for cognitive dysfunction in fibromyalgia may be needed in addition to assessment of the traditional fibromyalgia symptoms.



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