Is health care seeking for irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia a socially learned response to illness?

Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Jan;50(1):153-62. doi: 10.1007/s10620-005-1294-9.

Abstract

In a population-based study of 207 subjects with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or functional dyspepsia (FD) and controls (n = 100), we aimed to determine whether dimensions of abnormal illness behavior from the Abnormal Illness Behaviour Questionnaire and aspects of social learning of illness behavior from the Social Learning of Illness Behaviour scale were independent predictors of health care seeking for IBS and FD. Results showed that dimensions of abnormal illness behavior and aspects of social learning of illness behavior (encouragement, reinforcement, and modeling) did not significantly differentiate between consulters and nonconsulters with IBS and/or FD. The Disease Conviction scale (OR = 1.55; 95% CI, 1.15-2.09) of the Abnormal Illness Behaviour Questionnaire was an independent predictor of having a diagnosis of IBS and/or FD, independent of age and gender, psychiatric diagnoses, and symptom severity. We conclude that a belief in the presence of serious pathology characterizes community subjects with IBS and FD, but not health care seeking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dyspepsia / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / psychology*
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Sick Role*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires