Objectives. To assess the levels of experienced stress, state and trait anxiety, as well as emotional control determinants among patients treated either for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as compared to healthy controls.
Method. Three groups of 30 persons each were compared: two groups of patients diagnosed with IBS or GERD, and a group of healthy controls. Self-report psychological tests and questionnaires were used, including the Perceived Stress Scale by S. Cohen, the Emotional Control Questionnaire by J. Brzeziński, and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory by Spielberger.
Results. Both groups of patients with gastrointestinal diseases differed significantly from the healthy controls in terms of the analyzed psychological variables. In the IBS group as compared to the GERD patients significantly higher levels of experienced stress, anxiety both as a current state and a personality trait, as well as detrimental aspects of emotional control were found.
Conclusions. IBS patients as compared both to GERD patients and to healthy controls displayed the highest intensity of the variables under study. Women as compared to men were less able to control external expressions of their experienced emotions.