The operationalization of fatigue in frailty scales: a systematic review

V. Knoop, A. Costenoble, R. Vella Azzopardi, S. Vermeiren, A. Debain, B. Jansen, A. Scafoglieri, I. Bautmans, Ivan Bautmans, Dominque Verté, Ingo Beyer, Mirko Petrovic, Liesbeth de Donder, Tinie Kardol, Gina Rossi, Peter Clarys, Aldo Scafoglieri, Erik Cattrysse, Paul de Hert, Bart Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To identify the different fatigue items in existing frailty scales. Methods: PubMed, Web of Knowledge and PsycINFO were systematically screened for frailty scales. 133 articles were included, describing 158 frailty scales. Fatigue items were extracted and categorized in 4 fatigue constructs: “mood state related tiredness”, “general feeling of tiredness”, “activity based feeling of tiredness” and “resistance to physical tiredness”. Results: 120 fatigue items were identified, of which 100 belonged to the construct “general feeling of tiredness” and only 9 to the construct “resistance to physical tiredness”. 49,4% of the frailty scales included at least 1 fatigue item, representing 15 ± 9,3% of all items in these scales. Fatigue items have a significantly higher weight in single domain (dominantly physical frailty scales) versus multi domain frailty scales (21 ± 3.2 versus 10.6 ± 9.8%, p=<0,05). Conclusion: Fatigue is prominently represented in frailty scales, covering a great diversity in fatigue constructs and underlying pathophysiological mechanisms by which fatigue relates to frailty. Although fatigue items were more prevalent and had a higher weight in physical frailty scales, the operationalization of fatigue leaned more towards psychological constructs. This review can be used as a reference for choosing a suitable frailty scale depending on the type of fatigue of interest.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100911
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

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