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Approved research

The relationship between IBS and it's psychosocial and socioeconomic risk factors

Principal Investigator: Professor Rebecca Elliott
Approved Research ID: 58665
Approval date: June 9th 2020

Lay summary

The aims of this study is 1) to determine what percentage of a patients in a community based sample have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). 2) to determine what psychological, social and economic factors are associated with having IBS. 3) to determine whether IBS is associated with higher rates of anxiety and depression than other similar gastrointestinal disorders. 4) to determine the nature of the relationship between IBS and psychological, social and economic factors and whether they cause each other. Whilst understanding of IBS and its treatment is increasing, we still don't fully understand what causes it. There is some debate as to whether certain psychological and economic factors, such as anxiety and depression and socioeconomic class, are linked to IBS and whether they play a role in the development of the disorder. Additionally, it may be possible that several different factors are indirectly linked. A lot of studies on IBS and it's psychological, sociological and economic risk factors have not been in general population samples which can lead to inaccurate results or results which can't be applied to the general population. More research using data from the general population is needed to determine the relationship between IBS and its possible risk factors. This project will initially be part of a research master's degree project spanning roughly 6 months. Future studies may build on the findings of this study depending on their significance. IBS is a common condition and has a considerable negative impact on the economy through increased GP appointments, missed work and school days and increased medical investigations and treatment. Additionally, IBS is associated with decreased quality of life and psychological distress. As well as the negative impact of IBS itself on the lives of people living with the condition, it is known that IBS is associated with anxiety and depression which also negatively impact individuals lives and wider society. Increasing our understanding of the causes of IBS and its link to economic, social and psychological factors is key to enabling us to reduce the amount of people developing IBS. This in turn would have positive economic effects as well as improving the quality of life of a vast number of people.