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J Clin Gastroenterol. 2010 Nov-Dec;44(10):e236-41. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181eed5d8.

Dysfunctional cognitions, anxiety and depression in irritable bowel syndrome.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands.



Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have significantly impaired quality of life (QoL). We investigated the presence of dysfunctional cognitions, anxiety, and depression symptoms and their impact on daily symptoms and QoL in a large IBS cohort.


A total of 268 IBS patients (Rome II criteria, age 18 to 65 y) were included. Patients completed a 2-week daily symptom diary. The Short Form-36 was used to score QoL. The 31-items Cognitive Scale for Functional Bowel Disorders (CSFBD) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were used to analyze the psychological factors.


Possible anxiety and depression disorders were present in 30% and 22% of IBS patients, respectively. Patients with anxiety and depression had significantly higher mean symptom scores, impaired QoL, and higher CSFBD scores (P<0.01). Physical and mental QoL were both affected by depression (HADS-D) and dysfunctional cognitions (P<0.01). Only physical QoL, not mental QoL, was affected by referral type (hospital setting vs. community based; P<0.01). Only mental QoL was affected by anxiety (HADS-A) (P<0.01). Dysfunctional cognitions independently of anxiety and depression influenced QoL and IBS symptoms.


In this IBS cohort, dysfunctional cognitions independently influence physical and mental QoL and symptom severity. Presence of possible anxiety and depression disorders resulted in higher symptoms, lower QoL, and higher CSFBD scores. The results point toward an important role of psychological factors, especially dysfunctional cognitions on QoL and symptom scores in IBS patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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