A history of abuse in community subjects with irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia: the role of other psychosocial variables

Digestion. 2005;72(2-3):86-96. doi: 10.1159/000087722. Epub 2005 Aug 25.


Background/aims: Why abuse is associated with irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia remains unclear but other psychosocial factors may be important. We hypothesized that other psychosocial variables may confound the association.

Methods: 207 subjects identified from a previous population survey who also met Rome I criteria for IBS (n=156) or functional dyspepsia (n=51) were included in the study. Controls (n=100) did not report having any abdominal pain in a previous population survey. Sexual, physical, emotional/verbal abuse as a child (<or=13 years) and adult (>or=14 years) was assessed using validated self-report questions. Other psychological variables were assessed via validated self-report.

Results: Adulthood abuse was significantly more common in IBS and/or functional dyspepsia (40%) compared with healthy controls (25%). Abuse was not an independent predictor for IBS or functional dyspepsia when psychological and buffering factors were controlled for in the analyses. Having a diagnosis of depression and using a self-controlling coping style were significantly associated with having a history of abuse.

Conclusions: Abuse occurring as an adult was significantly associated with IBS and/or functional dyspepsia, but it was not an important factor when psychosocial factors were controlled for in these disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Dyspepsia / etiology*
  • Dyspepsia / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / etiology*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Violence / psychology*