Cognitive therapy for irritable bowel syndrome

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1994 Jun;62(3):576-82. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.62.3.576.


Twenty patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) were randomly assigned either to intensive, individualized cognitive therapy (10 sessions over 8 weeks) or to 8 weeks of daily gastrointestinal (GI) symptom monitoring. Pre- to posttreatment evaluations showed significantly (p = .005) greater GI symptom reduction for those receiving cognitive therapy than for those in symptom monitoring. At posttreatment, 80% of the cognitive therapy group showed clinically significant improvement, whereas only 10% of the monitoring group showed this. Results held up well at a 3-month follow-up. Within the cognitive therapy group, GI symptom reductions correlated significantly with increases in positive and reductions in negative automatic thoughts.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attention
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / psychology
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sick Role
  • Treatment Outcome