Two controlled evaluations of multicomponent psychological treatment of irritable bowel syndrome

Behav Res Ther. 1992 Mar;30(2):175-89. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(92)90141-3.


We report two controlled comparisons of a previously validated multicomponent (relaxation, thermal biofeedback, and cognitive therapy) treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to an ostensible attention-placebo control (pseudo-meditation and EEG alpha suppression biofeedback) and to a symptom-monitoring control. In Study 1 (n = 10 per condition) there were nonsignificant trends for the multicomponent treatment to be superior to the attention-placebo condition. In Study 2 (n = 30 per condition), we found no advantage for the multicomponent treatment over the attention-placebo condition. Subjects in both treatment conditions showed significant reductions in GI symptoms, as measured by daily symptom diaries, and significant reductions in trait anxiety and depression. The GI symptom reductions held up over a 6 month follow-up. Possible explanations for the results are explored.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Awareness
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / psychology
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / therapy*
  • Sick Role