3 years ago

Coping Skills Are Associated With Gastrointestinal Symptom Severity and Somatization in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Coping resources and processes are altered in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). We investigated the relationship between coping resources and gastrointestinal (GI) and extraintestinal symptom severity in patients with IBS and potential mediators of this relationship. Methods We performed a cross-sectional study of 216 patients with IBS attending a secondary/tertiary care specialized outpatient center in Sweden from 2003 through 2007. We collected data on coping resources, levels of anxiety (general and GI specific), depressive symptoms, levels of GI symptoms, and extraintestinal somatic symptoms (somatization) by administering validated self-report questionnaires. General Linear Models were used to assess associations and mediation. Results GI symptoms: low levels of physical coping resources (practice of activities that are beneficial for health; P = .0016), high levels of general anxiety symptoms (P = .033), and GI-specific anxiety symptoms (P < .0001), but not depressive symptoms (P = .89), were independently associated with GI symptom levels (R 2 = 0.31). Anxiety and GI-specific anxiety partially mediated the effect of physical coping. Somatization: low levels of physical coping resources (P = .003), high levels of anxiety (P = .0147), depressive (P = .0005), and GI-specific anxiety symptoms (P = .06) were associated with somatization levels (R 2 = 0.35). Levels of general and GI-specific anxiety and depressive symptoms partially mediated this physical coping effect. The effect of psychological coping resources (including optimism, social support, and accepting/expressing emotions) on somatization levels was not significant (P = .98), but was fully mediated by levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms, and partially by levels of GI-specific anxiety symptoms. Conclusions In a cross-sectional study of patients with IBS in Sweden, we found associations of levels of coping resources with GI and extraintestinal symptom severity; these associations were mediated by levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms. Although confirmation in longitudinal studies is needed, this identifies coping as a potential psychological treatment target in IBS.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S154235651730263X

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