Objectives. The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship of selected personality traits and ways of coping with the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) onset and its clinical course.
Methods. Participants in the study were 25 patients diagnosed with the irritable bowel syndrome (8 males and 17 females aged 20 to 70years, mean age 43.7). A number of personality traits and dispositions were measured using the Neo-Five Factor Inventory of personality by Costa and McCrae, such as neuroticism, extraversion, openness to new experiences, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Moreover, the intensity of aggressive behaviours constituting the "aggression syndrome", as well as the most frequent patterns of coping styles among the IBS patients were assessed by means of an Aggression Syndrome Psychological Inventory (Inwentarz Psychologiczny Syndromu Agresji, IPSA) and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS, by Endler and Parker).
Results. Task-oriented coping was the style most frequently employed by the IBS patients, followed by emotion-oriented coping, while the avoidance-oriented coping style was used the least often. Aggressive behaviour intensity was found to be related to the IBS presence. Aggression intensity turned out to be the highest for physical aggression, followed by verbal and mixed aggression, while affective self-aggression, self-aggressiveness index and latent aggression indicator ranked as the lowest.
Conclusions. The main findings: (1) neuroticism severity (as measured by the NEO-FFI) was low, (2) both the presence and intensity of certain aggressive behaviours were related to the irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis, (3) task-oriented coping was the style most frequently reported by the IBS patients, (4) there were significant gender-related differences in the agreeableness and conscientiousness scores, as well as in the global level and extent of aggressive behaviours.