Psychiatric comorbidities in a community sample of women with fibromyalgia

Karen G. Raphael, Malvin N. Janal, Sangeetha Nayak, Joseph E. Schwartz, Rollin M. Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior studies of careseeking fibromyalgia (FM) patients often report that they have an elevated risk of psychiatric disorders, but biased sampling may distort true risk. The current investigation utilizes state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures for both FM and psychiatric disorders to estimate prevalence rates of FM and the comorbidity of FM and specific psychiatric disorders in a diverse community sample of women. Participants were screened by telephone for FM and MDD, by randomly selecting telephone numbers from a list of households with women in the NY/NJ metropolitan area. Eligible women were invited to complete physical examinations for FM and clinician-administered psychiatric interviews. Data were weighted to adjust for sampling procedures and population demographics. The estimated overall prevalence of FM among women in the NY/NJ metropolitan area was 3.7% (95% CI = 3.2, 4.4), with higher rates among racial minorities. Although risk of current MDD was nearly 3-fold higher in community women with than without FM, the groups had similar risk of lifetime MDD. Risk of lifetime anxiety disorders, particularly obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, was approximately 5-fold higher among women with FM. Overall, this study found a community prevalence for FM among women that replicates prior North American studies, and revealed that FM may be even more prevalent among racial minority women. These community-based data also indicate that the relationship between MDD and FM may be more complicated than previously thought, and call for an increased focus on anxiety disorders in FM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Anxiety disorders
  • Community study
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression
  • Epidemiology
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Minority women
  • Psychiatric disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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