A controlled comparison of cognitive therapy and self-help support groups in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1995 Oct;63(5):779-86. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.63.5.779.


Thirty-four patients with irritable bowel syndrome were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatment conditions: individualized cognitive treatment (CT), self-help support group (SG), or symptom-monitoring waiting-list control (WL). Each of the 3 conditions lasted approximately 8 weeks. Pre- to posttreatment analyses revealed significantly greater reductions in both individual gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and in a composite index for GI symptom change for the CT condition than for the SG or WL conditions. When compared with the SG and WL conditions, the CT condition also showed significant improvement on psychological measures of depression and anxiety. At 3-month follow-up, the results for the CT condition were maintained and revealed further numerical improvements.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / psychology
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self-Help Groups*
  • Sick Role
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology
  • Somatoform Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome