Psychopathology and personality trait in subgroups of functional dyspepsia based on Rome III criteria

Am J Gastroenterol. 2009 Oct;104(10):2534-42. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2009.328. Epub 2009 Jun 16.


Objectives: Functional dyspepsia is a heterogeneous symptom complex that may be subdivided into postprandial distress syndrome and epigastric pain syndrome. We aimed to investigate differences among these subgroups in psychopathological factors and personality traits.

Methods: We enrolled 187 consecutive outpatients (72.2% female patients, mean age 42.6 years) with functional dyspepsia based on the Rome III criteria. Patients were interviewed and evaluated by the Brief Symptom Rating Scale and the short-form Maudsley personality inventory for severity of psychopathology and personality traits. Multiple linear regression models were built for each psychopathological dimension and personality trait to assess the independent association with each subclass diagnosis of functional dyspepsia.

Results: There was an overlap (n=64, 34.2%) between the patients diagnosed with epigastric pain syndrome (n=157, 84.0%) and those with postprandial distress syndrome (n=94, 50.3%). Patients with symptoms compatible with both syndromes were psychopathologically more severe than either subgroup without overlapping. Multiple linear regression analysis demonstrated that the diagnosis of postprandial distress syndrome was independently associated with higher scores in overall psychopathological stress, and specifically in somatization (P=0.034), depression (P=0.028), phobia (P=0.044), and additional symptoms (P<0.001). However, epigastric pain syndrome was not associated with psychopathology. Postprandial distress was univariately associated with neuroticism, but the association was insignificant in the multivariate analysis (P=0.136).

Conclusions: The Rome III subgroups of functional dyspepsia significantly overlap. Patients fulfilling criteria for both subgroups had symptoms that were psychopathologically more severe than those of patients without overlapping. Diagnosis of postprandial distress syndrome, but not epigastric pain syndrome, is independently associated with psychopathological factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dyspepsia / physiopathology
  • Dyspepsia / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Personality Inventory*
  • Postprandial Period
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Severity of Illness Index