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Differences in the health-related quality of life, affective status, and personality between irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease patients

Tkalčić, Mladenkaa; Hauser, Goranb; Štimac, Davorb

European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: July 2010 - Volume 22 - Issue 7 - p 862-867
doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e3283307c75
Original Articles: Functional disorders

Objectives To investigate differences in the health-related quality of life (HRQoL), number of stressful life events, affective status, and some personality characteristics between patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as well as their possible role in disease activity.

Methods Fifty-six IBS outpatients, age range 25–75 years (mean = 48.64; SD = 13.04) and 43 outpatients with IBD, age range 19–74 years (mean = 42.90; SD = 15.44), participated in this study. Patients filled out the following questionnaires: Short-Form 36 Health Survey, Beck Depression Inventory, Spielberger's Trait-Anxiety Inventory, Big Five Inventory, and Stressful Life Events Questionnaire.

Results There were significant differences in the physical component (F = 10.80, P<0.001) of the general HRQoL as well as in anxiety (F = 7.23, P<0.01) and neuroticism (F = 8.90, P<0.01) between patients with IBS and IBD. IBS patients showed a significantly higher level of anxiety and neuroticism and better physical aspects of general HRQoL compared with IBD patients. The results of standard regression analyses indicated that a significant predictor (β = −0.44, P<0.01) for the perceived disease activity in IBS was neuroticism as a personality trait.

Conclusion The results of this study show that the patients with IBS are more prone to the effect of psychosocial variables on gastrointestinal symptoms compared with patients with organic gastrointestinal diseases such as IBD. IBS patients experienced a higher level of anxiety and expressed a higher level of neuroticism as a personality trait compared with IBD patients.

aDepartment of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Rijeka

bDepartment of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Clinical Hospital Centre, Rijeka, Croatia

Correspondence to Dr Goran Hauser, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, University Hospital Rijeka, Kresimirova 42, Rijeka 51 000, Croatia

Tel: +385 98 18 20 726; fax: +385 51 658 826; e-mail:

Data presented previously at ECCO meeting Hamburg, February 2009 and published as abstract in JCC 2009;1:S78

Received 24 May 2009 Accepted 3 July 2009

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.