September 08, 2015
1 min read

Perceived stress higher among patients with IBS

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Patients with irritable bowel syndrome had significantly higher perceived stress compared with healthy controls, according to data presented at the AGA’s 2015 James W. Freston Conference in Chicago.

The purpose of this study was threefold: to assess physiological markers of stress response in patients with IBS vs. healthy controls; to identify correlations between reported stress and physiological markers in patients with IBS; and to determine the effects of weight, sex and IBS type on these stress-related variables.

The researchers analyzed data from 37 patients with IBS and 69 healthy controls who completed the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and had fasting peripheral whole-blood specimens collected. PSS scores were 14.81 ± 6.57 for patients with IBS compared with 10.84 ± 6.23 for healthy controls (P = .003). Sex and weight did not affect PSS scores, whereas IBS subtype had an effect (P = .05). PSS scores and serum cortisol were negatively correlated (r = –0.23; P = .02). Correlations between PSS scores and intra-abdominal fat or body fat percentage were not significant.

The investigators concluded that patients with IBS have higher perceived stress than healthy controls, and that “peripheral indicators of the stress response system were found to be negatively correlated with baseline values of self-reported perceived stress. Such findings lend support to alterations of the stress response system in patients with IBD; subjects who reported increased levels of perceived stress displayed diminished levels of cortisol in comparison to their less stressed counterparts.”

Baseline PSS scores were found to be significantly different between patients with IBS and healthy controls, and they were somewhat influenced by IBS type, but “although an effect of body weight and sex upon PSS scores was not found, trends were noted in the association of body fat percent and visceral adiposity,” they added. “These findings warrant further inquiry, as to the potential mechanism of increased stress among subgroups of this patient population.” – by Adam Leitenberger


Weaver KR, et al. Physiological correlates of perceived stress in patients with IBS. Presented at: James W. Freston Conference; Aug. 29-30, 2015; Chicago.

Disclosure: Healio Gastroenterology was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.