King's College London

Research portal

Positive and negative affect mediate the bidirectional relationship between emotional processing and symptom severity and impact in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume105
Early online date29 Nov 2017
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Documents

King's Authors

Abstract

Introduction
Individuals with IBS report higher levels of psychological distress compared to healthy controls. Distress has been associated with emotional processing difficulties but studies have not explored how the relationship between distress and emotional processing affects IBS. There is little research on the role of positive affect (PA) in IBS.

Aims
(a) If difficulties in self-reported emotional processing are associated with affect and IBS measures (i.e., symptom severity, interference in life roles) (b1) If affect mediates the relationship between emotional processing and IBS measures (b2) Alternative model: if affect mediates the relationship between IBS and emotional processing (c) If PA moderates the relationship between distress and IBS.

Methods
Participants with a confirmed diagnosis of IBS (n = 558) completed a questionnaire including measures of emotional processing (i.e., unhelpful beliefs about negative emotions, impoverished emotional experience), distress, PA, and IBS measures. Mediation and moderation analyses were conducted with Maximum Likelihood Estimation.

Results
Distress and PA mediated or partly mediated the relationship between unhelpful beliefs about negative emotions/impoverished emotional experience and both IBS measures. The alternative models were also valid, suggesting a two-way relationship between emotional processing and IBS through affect. PA did not moderate the relationship between distress and IBS.

Conclusion
Future interventions in IBS may benefit from not only targeting the management of physical symptoms and their daily impact but also aspects related to the experience of both negative and positive affect, and the acceptance and expression of negative emotions. Longitudinal studies are needed to confirm causal relationships within the explored models.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454