Persisting improvement in complaint-related cognitions initiated during medical consultations in functional abdominal complaints

Psychol Med. 1997 May;27(3):725-9. doi: 10.1017/s0033291796003777.


Background: Previously it was shown that during a series of out-patient consultations dysfunctional complaint-related cognitions and anxiety diminished significantly in patients with functional abdominal complaints (IBS). The aim of the present study was to assess the maintenance of positive changes initiated during medical consultations in the patients' complaint-related cognitions and anxiety, as well as the influence of these cognitions on the severity of the complaints, 6 months after the first visit to the out-patient clinic.

Methods: One hundred and five consecutive patients with IBS referred by their general practitioners to the out-patient clinic for internal medicine completed questionnaires about their complaints and their complaint-related cognitions and anxiety before the first and after the last out-patient visit and again at follow-up, 6 months after the first out-patient consultation.

Results: Positive changes in the patients' complaint-related cognitions during the consulting period were found to persist during the follow-up period. Improvement in abdominal complaints at follow-up was found to be related to the level of the patients' state anxiety, fear of cancer, and catastrophizing cognitions at the last out-patient visit.

Conclusions: Medical consultations can bring about long-lasting positive changes in prognostically unfavourable cognitions and anxiety. These changes appear to be related to a better outcome of IBS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care / methods
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / psychology*
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome