A systematic review of minimal-contact psychological treatments for symptom management in irritable bowel syndrome

Rosanna Pajak, Jeffrey Lackner, Sunjeev K Kamboj
Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2013, 75 (2): 103-12

OBJECTIVE: Psychological treatments are effective in alleviating symptoms of IBS but are not widely available. The need for wider dissemination of treatments has encouraged the development of 'minimal-contact' therapies requiring fewer resources than existing psychological treatments which rely on face-to-face contact.

METHOD: Using comprehensive search terms, the Embase, Medline and PsychInfo databases (all years) were searched.

RESULTS: Twelve studies--nine RCTs and three non-controlled preliminary studies - meeting inclusion criteria were reviewed and assessed for quality using objective criteria. Apart from one study of expressive writing, all interventions were based on cognitive (and/or) behavioural principles or hypnosis and tended to be adaptations of existing therapist-led interventions. Compared to control conditions, minimal-contact interventions were efficacious, the majority of studies showing statistically significant improvements by the end of treatment. For cognitive-behaviour-therapy-based interventions effects sizes were large. The two studies that compared minimal-contact with therapist-delivered interventions broadly suggest comparable outcomes between these modalities.

CONCLUSIONS: Minimal-contact cognitive-behavioural interventions show promise in the treatment of IBS. Because of the lower quality of studies of hypnosis and those involving interventions delivered entirely remotely, further support is needed before such approaches can be recommended for widespread use. More generally, future research should use representative samples, active control conditions, and intention to treat analysis. Nonetheless, existing high quality studies suggest that minimal-contact therapies may be a safe, effective means of achieving scaleability of psychological treatments for IBS.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"