Subjects with functional dyspepsia (FD) in most previous studies have been confined to those who sought medical consultation. The generalizability of results from these studies to individuals with FD who do not seek medical consultation is limited. This study examined 1) differences in perceptual and behavioral characteristics between “nonconsulters” and “consulters” with FD and 2) the influence of these characteristics on dyspeptic and psychological symptoms.
A matched case-control design was used to compare differences among 43 nonconsulters with FD, 43 consulters with FD, and 43 healthy individuals. Subjects’ monitoring perceptual style, confrontative coping behaviors, dyspeptic symptoms, anxiety, and depression were assessed by using well-validated questionnaires.
FD consulters exhibited higher levels of monitoring, confrontative coping, anxiety, and depression than FD nonconsulters and healthy subjects (p values < .01). Results from discriminant analysis revealed that all these variables reliably predicted the membership of the three groups. Significant Monitoring by Confrontative Coping interaction effects were also found, indicating the conjoint influences of these variables on dyspeptic and psychological symptoms.
These results show that FD nonconsulters are distinguishable from FD consulters by their perceptual style, coping behaviors, and psychological symptoms. Both monitoring perceptual style and confrontative coping behaviors may magnify dyspeptic and psychological symptoms in individuals with FD, especially those who seek medical consultation.