The role of childhood abuse in Axis I and Axis II psychiatric disorders and medical disorders of unknown origin among irritable bowel syndrome patients

J Psychosom Res. 2004 Apr;56(4):431-6. doi: 10.1016/S0022-3999(03)00627-5.


Objective: High rates of early abuse and psychopathology are commonly reported among treatment-seeking patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The purpose of this study is to further explore the relations among IBS, early abuse, Axes I and II psychopathology, and other medically unexplained disorders.

Methods: One hundred and ninety-six IBS patients seeking nondrug treatment for their symptoms were characterized in terms of their gastrointestinal (GI) status, psychiatric status (Axis I and Axis II), early abuse status, and the presence of other functional disorders. Patients were divided into two groups based on early abuse status.

Results and conclusion: No significant differences emerged between abused and nonabused groups on either the presence of Axis II disorders or other functional health conditions, although there were high levels of both in the IBS population. Patients with a history of abuse were significantly more likely to meet criteria for an Axis I disorder, especially substance abuse disorders, dysthymia, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse* / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse* / psychology
  • Child Abuse* / statistics & numerical data
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / classification
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care