Impact of anal incontinence on psychosocial function and health-related quality of life

Dig Dis Sci. 2007 Jul;52(7):1627-31. doi: 10.1007/s10620-006-9249-3. Epub 2007 Jan 9.


The relationship among the frequency of anal incontinence (AI), psychosocial factors, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) was evaluated. Consecutive patients (n=280) completed a bowel symptom questionnaire, the Symptom Checklist 90 -- Revised (SCL 90-R), and an assessment of HRQOL. Group 1 had no incontinence, Group 2 had AI less than once per week, and Group 3 experienced AI more than once per week. Multivariate analyses were used to evaluate the relationship among symptoms, the SCL-90-R subscales, and HRQOL. Group 3 reported more frequent stools than the other groups. Significant psychological distress was present in both incontinent groups compared to Group 1 (P=0.002). A reduction in overall HRQOL was also seen in the incontinent groups. Depression was inversely correlated with QOL-Satisfaction and QOL-Ratings and positively correlated with QOL-Interference. AI was associated with impaired psychosocial function and decreased HRQOL. The frequency of AI was associated with increased HRQOL-Interference, but minimally with the degree of psychosocial impairment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Fecal Incontinence / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Quality of Life / psychology*