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Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2007 Jun;32(2):111-9. Epub 2007 Jun 13.

Preliminary study of a self-administered treatment for irritable bowel syndrome: comparison to a wait list control group.

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Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT 06516-2700, USA.


Despite the accumulation of efficacy data for cognitive-behavioral treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), efforts to investigate methods for increasing access to psychological treatments are in their infancy. The current study examined the efficacy of self-administered treatment in comparison to a wait list control. Twenty-eight participants monitored gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and completed measures of quality of life (QOL) and psychological distress prior to randomized assignment to self-help treatment or wait list. Wait listed participants later received treatment. A 3 month post-treatment follow-up was included. Seven participants completed immediate treatment; nine the wait list. The self-help treatment significantly decreased composite GI symptom scores in comparison to the wait list, but did not lead to significant improvements in QOL or distress. In the entire treated sample, including wait list crossovers, analyses showed significant improvement in abdominal pain, average GI symptoms, and perceived health and well-being. Interpretation of these results should be considered in the context of several limitations, including small sample size, brief baseline symptom monitoring, and high drop out rate. Despite these limitations, this study is an important first step in empirically validating low-cost, self-administered treatments as a first line psychological intervention for IBS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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