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Revealing the Role of Social Support on Cognitive Deficits in Fibromyalgia Syndrome.

Despite the relevance of cognitive deficits in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and the attempts to elucidate the influence of the disorder symptoms in the cognitive decline reported by patients, no studies have explored the specific role of social support on cognition in FMS. Social support has been shown to be an essential modulator factor on cognitive performance in other diseases. Sixty-four women with FMS and 32 healthy women participated in the study and completed questionnaires pertaining to anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, clinical pain, and social support, along with a neuropsychological battery assessing verbal memory, organization, strategic and planning abilities, self-regulation, processing speed, attention, and cognitive flexibility. Results showed that FMS patients exhibited lower values in all social support dimensions in comparison with healthy individuals, especially in the socializing dimension. Despite the lower social support observed in FMS, all social support dimensions showed a positive impact on verbal memory, organization and planning abilities, strategic planning, self-regulation, processing speed, attention, and cognitive flexibility in these patients. In fact, social support was associated with greater correct responses and processing speed and minor number of errors in all the neuropsychological battery tests. Socializing was the main predictor of organization and planning abilities, strategic planning, and self-regulation. In sum, results suggest that social support may be a key factor in buffering the cognitive decline observed in FMS. Designing psychoeducation programs and intervention programs directed not only to FMS patients but also relatives, health care workers, and the general population might be essential to improve the social support of FMS patients and positively impact on patient's cognitive status.

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