Abstract

Relationships Between Abdominal Pain and Fatigue With Psychological Distress as a Mediator in Women With Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Han CJ1, Jarrett ME, Heitkemper MM. Gastroenterol Nurs. 2020 Jan/Feb;43(1):28-39. doi: 10.1097/SGA.0000000000000383.

 
     

Author information

Claire J. Han, PhD, MSN, RN, is with the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Informatics, School of Nursing, and with the Biobehavioral Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program, Departments of Public Health and Health Service, University of Washington, Seattle. Monica E. Jarrett, PhD, RN, is with the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Informatics, School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle. Margaret M. Heitkemper, PhD, RN, FAAN, is with the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Informatics, School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle.

Abstract

Women with irritable bowel syndrome often report fatigue, along with abdominal pain and psychological distress (i.e., depression and anxiety). There is little information about the relationships among these symptoms. Using a secondary data analysis (N = 356), we examined the relationship between abdominal pain and fatigue and whether psychological distress mediates the effect of abdominal pain on fatigue in both across women and within woman with irritable bowel syndrome. Data gathered through a 28-day diary were analyzed with linear regressions. The across-women and within-woman relationships among same-day abdominal pain, fatigue, and psychological distress were examined. Within-woman relationships were also examined for directionality among symptoms (i.e., prior-day abdominal pain predicts next-day fatigue and prior-day fatigue predicts next-day abdominal pain). In across-women and within-woman analyses on the same day, abdominal pain and fatigue were positively correlated. In within-woman analyses, abdominal pain predicted next-day fatigue, but fatigue did not predict next-day pain. In across-women and within-woman analyses, psychological distress partially mediated the effects of abdominal pain on fatigue. Symptom management incorporating strategies to decrease both abdominal pain and psychological distress are likely to reduce fatigue. Nursing interventions, such as self-management skills to reduce abdominal pain and psychological distress, may have the added benefit of reducing fatigue in irritable bowel syndrome.

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