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Selective recall of gastrointestinal-sensation words: Evidence for a cognitive-behavioral contribution to irritable bowel syndrome

Selective recall of gastrointestinal-sensation words: Evidence for a cognitive-behavioral contribution to irritable bowel syndrome

American Journal of Gastroenterology 96(4): 1133-1138

OBJECTIVE: Selective attention to GI sensations has been suggested as an important mechanism that affects symptom perception in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but this hypothesis has not yet been tested empirically. Differential recall of words describing negative affect has been used to demonstrate that depressed patients selectively attend to negative affect words. This technique may be useful for examining selective attention to somatic sensations. The aim of this study was to determine whether patients with IBS demonstrate selective recall of GI sensations compared with neutral words and words describing respiratory sensations. METHODS: A total of 16 IBS patients, nine asthmatic patients (medical controls), and eight healthy controls were shown 10 GI sensation words of phrases, 10 respiratory sensation words or phrases, and 10 neutral words in random order for 3 s each. After a distraction task, subjects wrote down all of the words or phrases they could remember. RESULTS: As predicted, IBS patients were more likely to recall GI words than other categories. Asthmatic patients were more likely to recall respiratory words in comparison with healthy controls. CONCLUSIONS: IBS patients selectively recall words describing GI sensations; this suggests that they may selectively attend to GI sensations, thus supporting the cognitive-behavioral theory of IBS.

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Accession: 011337628

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 11318007

DOI: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2001.03759.x

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