Turkish Journal of Gastroenterology
Gastrointestinal Tract - Original Article

The Impact of Diagnostic Status on Quality of Life in Irritable Bowel Syndrome


School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia


Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia


Faculty Health, Arts, and Design, Department of Psychology, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia


Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia


Department of Psychiatry, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia


Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

Turk J Gastroenterol 2021; 32: 808-818
DOI: 10.5152/tjg.2021.20517
Read: 1008 Downloads: 252 Published: 01 October 2021

Background: The aim of the study was to examine the impact of diagnostic status (i.e., having a clinical diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or being symptomatic but undiagnosed on quality of life (QoL)). We also examined whether the relationships between QoL and variables such as symptom frequency, pain catastrophizing, visceral sensitivity, and psychological distress are moderated by diagnostic status.

Methods: The online sample comprised 404 participants (Mage = 33.59, SD = 12.43), of which 98 had been diagnosed with IBS and 306 were symptomatic but undiagnosed.

Results: The findings suggest that even after adjusting for symptom frequency, those diagnosed with IBS experience poorer QoL, relative to those without a diagnosis. Moreover, there was evidence that the relationship between specific QoL domains (namely, sex, food avoidance, and health worry) and psychological variables (namely, pain catastrophizing, and depression) was moderated by diagnostic status.

Conclusion: The results indicate that diagnostic status in relation to IBS has psychological implications for QoL outcomes distinct from symptom frequency, age, and gender. This highlights a substantial gap in our current understanding of how a diagnosis of IBS can impact the lives of those suffering from IBS symptomology and calls into question the intended purpose of diagnosis.

Cite this article as: Cassar GE, Youssef GJ, Knowles S, Moulding R, Austin DW. The impact of diagnostic status on quality of life in irritable bowel syndrome. Turk J Gastroenterol. 2021; 32(10): 808-818.

EISSN 2148-5607