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J Child Sex Abus. 2005;14(1):27-38.

Childhood sexual abuse and psychosomatic symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome.

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  • 1Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma, Richardson, TX, USA.


Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by chronic gastrointestinal symptoms without a demonstrable physical cause. In a subgroup of patients, irritable bowel syndrome may be part of a cluster of psychosomatic symptoms related to childhood sexual abuse. To investigate this possibility, the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule (DDIS), the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) and the Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90) were administered to 105 subjects with either irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis), or other gastrointestinal disorders. The subjects in the three groups did not differ on the DES, the SCL-90 or most sections of the DDIS. However, subjects with irritable bowel syndrome reported much higher rates of childhood sexual abuse and psychosomatic symptoms.

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