Perceptions of gastroenterologists and patients regarding irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease

Sigal Levy, Michal Segev, Rebecca Reicher-Atir, Adam Steinmetz, Nechama Horev, Yaron Niv, Ram Dickman
European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2014, 26 (1): 40-6

OBJECTIVE: To compare perceptions of patients and gastroenterologists regarding irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

METHODS: The Illness Perception Questionnaire-Revised was sent to 150 randomly selected hospital-based and community-based gastroenterologists nationwide. Participants were instructed to refer their responses to either IBS or IBD. Patients were recruited during a regular visit to the Gastroenterology Department of a tertiary medical center and completed the same questionnaire. Findings were analyzed according to illness and group.

RESULTS: Questionnaires were returned by 55 physicians (29 referred to IBS, 26 to IBD) and 58 patients. Physicians and patients stated that IBD has more severe consequences and benefits more from medical treatment (P<0.05), and that patient coherence is higher for IBD than IBS (P<0.05). Physicians stated that psychological attributes and accidents/injuries play a greater causative role in IBS than in IBD (P<0.01 and P<0.05, respectively). Conversely, patients found no such difference. More patients than physicians attributed both illnesses to risk factors (P=0.07). Both groups believed that the immune system is a more important causative factor in IBD than IBS (P<0.01).

CONCLUSION: The different views of gastroenterologists and patients in terms of the involvement of psychological attributes, risk factors, and accidents/injuries in IBD and IBS could affect the patient-health provider relationship and adversely impact treatment outcome.

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