Anxiety, depression and quality of life in patients with irritable bowel syndrome

Gut Liver. 2011 Mar;5(1):29-36. doi: 10.5009/gnl.2011.5.1.29. Epub 2011 Mar 16.


Background/aims: There have been few Asian studies regarding anxiety and depression associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency and importance of anxiety and depression in Korean patients with IBS.

Methods: A total of 124 IBS patients and 91 healthy subjects were enrolled consecutively. All participants were asked to complete self-administered questionnaires: one addressing symptom severity, the Short Form 36, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). The patients were also asked to complete the IBS-specifi c quality of life (IBS-QOL) questionnaire.

Results: Anxiety and depression were observed in 38.6% and 38.6% of IBS patients, respectively, and in 24.2% and 16.5% of healthy subjects, respectively (p<0.05 for both). The mean HADS scores for anxiety and depression in IBS patients were 6.8±4.5 and 7.1±4.4, respectively. Both anxiety and depression were associated with self-reported symptom severity (p<0.012 and p<0.001, respectively). As determined by multivariate analysis, symptom severity was the most important factor in the prediction of anxiety and depression. Self-reported symptom severity and depression were clearly and independently associated with the overall IBS-QOL score.

Conclusions: Anxiety and depression were frequently observed in Korean IBS patients and were related to the severity of their symptoms and the impairment of the patient's QOL. Our data suggest that assessing anxiety and depression is important when evaluating IBS patients.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Irritable bowel syndrome; Quality of life.