Advancing the screening of fibromyalgia in late-life depression: Practical implications for psychiatric settings

John R. Jochum, Amy E. Begley, Mary Amanda Dew, Debra K. Weiner, Jordan F. Karp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Fibromyalgia (FM) is common in older adults suffering from mood disorders. However, clinical diagnosis of FM is challenging, particularly in psychiatric settings. We examined the prevalence of FM and the sensitivity of three simple screeners for FM. Methods: Using cross-sectional data, we evaluated three tests against the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 1990 Criteria for the Classification of FM: a Do you often feel like you hurt all over? question, a pain map score, and the Pope and Hudson (PH) interview for FM. Participants were 185 community-dwelling adults ≥ 60 years old with comorbid depression and chronic low back pain evaluated at a late-life mental health clinic. Results: Fifty three of 185 participants (29%) met the ACR 1990 FM criteria. Compared to those without FM, the FM group had more yes answers to the hurt all over? question and higher pain map scores. To reach a sensitivity of at least 0.90, the cut-off score for the pain map was 8. The sensitivity of the pain map, hurt all over? question, and PH criteria were 0.92 [95%CI 0.82-0.98], 0.91 [95%CI 0.79-0.97], and 0.94 [95%CI 0.843-0.99] respectively. Conclusions: Nearly one in three older adults suffering from depression and chronic low back pain met ACR 1990 FM criteria. Three short screening tests showed high sensitivity when compared to the ACR 1990 FM criteria. Implementation of one of the simple screeners for FM in geriatric psychiatry settings may guide the need for further diagnostic evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1513-1521
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 9 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • aging
  • depression
  • fibromyalgia
  • pain
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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