COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown stress consequences in people with and without Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Ethics Med Public Health. 2021 Sep;18:100660. doi: 10.1016/j.jemep.2021.100660.Epub 2021 Mar 24.

J-M Sabate 1 2, D Deutsch 1, C Melchior 3, A Entremont 4, F Mion 5, M Bouchoucha 1, S Façon 6, J-J Raynaud 1, F Zerbib 7, P Jouët 2 8


Author information

  • 1Gastroenterology Department, hôpital Avicenne, Paris 13 Nord, AP-HP, 125, rue de Stalingrad, Bobigny, France.
  • 2INSERM U-987, Pathophysiology and Clinical Pharmacology of pain, Ambroise-Paré Hospital, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt, France.
  • 3Gastroenterology Department and INSERM CIC-CRB 1404, Rouen University Hospital and INSERM UMR 1073, Institute for Research and Innovation in Biomedicine, Normandy University, 76031 Rouen, France.
  • 428, place du marché Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France.
  • 5Gastroenterology Department, hôpital Edouard-Herriot, 5, place d'Arsonval, 69437 Lyon, France.
  • 6Association des patients souffrant du syndrome de l'intestin irritable (APSSII, www.apsssi.org), hôpital Avicenne, 125, rue de Stalingrad, Bobigny, France.
  • 7Gastroenterology Department, hôpital Haut-Lévêque, 1, avenue Magellan, 33604 Pessac cedex, France.
  • 8Gastroenterology Department, hôpital Ambroise-Paré, 9, avenue Charles de Gaulle, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt, France.


Background: While all resources have been mobilized to fight COVID-19, this study aimed to analyze the consequences of lockdown and pandemic stress in participants with and without Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Methodology: An online survey was proposed to people with or without IBS during the exponential phase of the pandemic in France. The questionnaire included questions about socio-demographic data, conditions of confinement, activities carried out, IBS characteristics, measurement of stress level, consequences on sleep, fatigue, anxiety and depression, and quality of life (both perceived non-specific and specific for IBS).

Results/discussion: From March 31 to April 15, 2020, 304 participants, 232 with IBS and 72 without were included in the survey (mean age: 46.8 ± 16.8 years, female gender: 75.3%). Age, level of education, financial resources, living space per person and activities performed during confinement were identical in both groups. Stress linked to fear of COVID-19, lockdown and financial worries was at the same level in both groups, but the psychological consequences and deterioration of quality of life (QOL) were both higher in IBS participants. In a univariate analysis, teleworking, solitary confinement, and low household resources had a variable impact on the scores of depression, anxiety, fatigue and non-specific perceived QOL, but in a multivariate analysis, the only factor explaining a deterioration of non-specific QOL was the fact of suffering from IBS.

Conclusion/perspectives: Stress linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and confinement is high and equivalent in both IBS and non-IBS participants, with higher psychological and QOL consequences in IBS patients who have altered coping capacities.



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