The temporal relationship of daily life stress, emotions and bowel symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome – diarrhea subtype: A smartphone-based experience sampling study
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The current study aimed to model the moment-to-moment relationship between daily life stress, emotions, and bowel symptoms among patients with irritable bowel syndrome-diarrhea subtype (IBS-D) in the flow of daily life using a smartphone-based experience sampling method (ESM).

Patients with IBS-D (N = 27) and healthy controls (HC; N = 30) completed ESM ratings of their real-time daily life stress, which was defined as subjective stress related to daily activities, both positive and negative emotions, as well as bowel symptoms eight times a day for 14 consecutive days, following a baseline interview measuring bowel and mood symptoms. Moment-to-moment association between ESM variables was tested within and between groups using multilevel regression modeling.

Patients with IBS-D reported more severe bowel symptoms and lower positive affect than HCs, but levels of daily life stress and negative affect were comparable between groups. Time-lagged analysis of ESM data revealed that, among patients with IBS-D, daily life stress predicted a decrease in abdominal pain and urgency to defecation at a subsequent time point, whereas severity of bowel symptoms and occurrence of diarrhea predicted a subsequent increase in negative affect and daily life stress. The above associations were not found among HCs.

ESM unveiled the dynamic relationship between bowel symptoms, stress, and emotionality. Patients with IBS-D responded to bowel symptoms with more stress and distress momentarily. Counter-intuitively, daily life activity stress appeared to ameliorate bowel symptoms, although a more rigorous study design is required to testify this claim. Psychological understanding of IBS-D is discussed.
All Author(s) ListYawen Chan, Suzanne So, Arthur Mak, Kewin Siah, Wai Chan, Justin Wu
Journal nameNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Volume Number31
Issue Number3
Article numbere13514
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
Keywordsambulatory assessment, daily life stress, experience sampling, irritable bowel syndrome, negative emotions

Last updated on 2021-22-01 at 01:44