Effects of guided imagery with relaxation training on anxiety and quality of life among patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Psychol Health. 2012;27(12):1463-79. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2012.691169. Epub 2012 May 30.


Background: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) impacts quality of life (QoL). Psychological factors influence the course of the disease and should be targeted for intervention.

Methods: Our study was a prospective, randomised control trial. Fifty-six outpatients were randomly chosen and allocated to a treatment group or a waiting-list control group. Treatment group patients attended three relaxation-training sessions and received an audio disc for home practice. Evaluations performed pre and post-treatment: state anxiety was assessed with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, QoL with the IBD Questionnaire. The Visual Analogue Scale assessed pain, depression, stress and mood. Patients completed a symptom monitoring diary. The control group's symptoms were monitored without study-related treatment.

Results: Thirty-nine subjects completed the study and were included in the data analysis. Following the relaxation-training intervention, the treatment group's (n = 18) measured results showed a statistically significant improvement as compared to the control group (n = 21) (time by treatment interaction): anxiety levels decreased (p < 0.01), QoL and mood improved (p < 0.05), while levels of pain and stress decreased (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Findings indicate IBD patients may benefit from relaxation training in their holistic care. New studies as well as further investigation of the subject are warranted.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / psychology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Relaxation Therapy / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult