Objective: There has been growing interest in the investigation of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among patients with gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. We recently reported on the development and preliminary validation of the IBS-QOL, a specific quality-of-life measure for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The aim of this study was to determine the longitudinal construct validity (responsiveness) of the IBS-QOL.
Methods: Female patients enrolled in a multicenter treatment trial for functional bowel disorders were studied pre- and posttreatment with the IBS-QOL and other health status measures. Based on the response to treatment for several variables (pain/14-day score, daily function, and days in bed/3 months), patients were stratified into Responders, Partial Responders, and Nonresponders. Change scores in the IBS-QOL were then statistically compared with changes in the other variables to determine their correlation and whether Responders were significantly different from non- and Partial Responders on the IBS-QOL.
Results: There was a significant correlation between change scores on the IBS-QOL and the other measures of treatment effect (Pain/14 days, r = 0.25, p < 0.002; Sickness Impact Profile [SIP] Total Score, r = 0.28, p < 0.0004). In addition, the IBS-QOL scores significantly differentiated Responders from Nonresponders for most of the variables tested (regression trend test for Pain/14 days, p < 0.04; SIP Total, p < 0.0001; SIP Physical, p < 0.0001; SIP Psychosocial, p < 0.002, and SIP Eating, p < 0.04).
Conclusion: The IBS-QOL is responsive to treatment in a referral-based clinical population of patients with functional bowel disorders.