Perceived vulnerability to illness in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome.
Crane C., Martin M.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) differ from other individuals in their perceived lifetime risk of an unrelated medical condition. METHOD: A questionnaire was used to assess worry about deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and perceived future risk of developing the condition in individuals with IBS and controls following a media scare concerning DVT. RESULTS: Individuals with IBS reported higher perceived lifetime risk of DVT than did healthy controls or individuals with asthma. Current physical symptoms, exposure to information about DVT and the illness attitudes measured could not entirely account for the higher perceived health risk among individuals with IBS. CONCLUSIONS: A perception of enhanced personal vulnerability to illness appears to be present in individuals with IBS, although it is possible that this perception is related to higher levels of negative affect amongst this group. Whilst a perception of enhanced vulnerability to illness is likely to contribute to IBS-related illness behaviour, it does not appear to be specific to reasoning about IBS and is also apparent when individuals consider an unrelated health issue.