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A holistic group psychotherapeutic intervention for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and its comorobid depression and anxiety

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. H.G. Pretorius en
dc.contributor.author Bush, Carol Margaret
dc.date.accessioned 2008-10-31T09:07:57Z
dc.date.available 2008-10-31T09:07:57Z
dc.date.issued 2008-10-31T09:07:57Z
dc.date.submitted 2001
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/1423
dc.description M.A. en
dc.description.abstract Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be described as a bodily idiom - a nonverbal language which may have its roots in unspeakable dilemmas (Griffiths & Griffiths, 1994). The splitting of languages and silencing of the body may be the soil in which such symptoms grow. Unutterable conflicts lead to the symptoms being trapped within the body until the body itself begins to "speak" (Griffiths & Griffiths, 1994). In essence, this study seeks to evaluate the effects of attaching language, feelings and awareness to these symptoms and communicating this with other IBS subjects within the group context. Psychiatric illness is often found in IBS health care seekers (Drossman & Thompson, 1992). The specific aim of this study was to ascertain the effects of a holistic short-term group intervention in the treatment of IBS with comorbid depression and anxiety. The sample consisted of 24 South African women who had been positively diagnosed with severe IBS by either a gastroenterologist or a general practitioner. Furthermore, each subject had to have associated moderate to severe depression and anxiety. Four questionnaires were utilised, namely the Biographical Questionnaire, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Client Questionnaire, the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) and the Functional Bowel Disorder Severity Index (FBDSI). The Biographical Questionnaire mainly requested personal details and sought a family history of psychological disorders. The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Client Questionnaire, based on the standardised Rome Criteria (Drossman, 1994; Drossman, Zhiming, Toner, Creed, Thompson, Read et al., 1995; Talley, Phillips, Melton, Mulvihill, Wiltgen & Zinsmeister, 1989), verified a positive IBS diagnosis, while the Functional Bowel Disorder Severity Index rated the severity of the subject’s IBS. Lastly, the depression score was rated on the depression scale of the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) and the anxiety score was rated on the anxiety scale of the PAI. The subjects were divided into two groups of twelve members each - Group 1 was the experimental group and Group 2 was the control group. The group design was a pre-test, post-test control group design where subjects in Group 1 (the experimental group) received group intervention and subjects in Group 2 (the control group) were placed on a waiting list and received no intervention. The subjects in the control group were offered individual therapy once the post-tests were completed. All the subjects completed the IBS Severity Index Questionnaire and the Depression and Anxiety subscales of the Personality Assessment Inventory before commencement of group therapy for Group 1 and again one month after completion of this intervention. The effect of the intervention was determined utilising comparative statistics with reference to the pre-test versus post-test scores. The t-test for the equality of means for between group variance was utilised for two analyses. Firstly, it was used to determine the variance regarding the pre-test scores between Group 1 (the experimental group – who received intervention) versus Group 2 (the control group – who received no intervention) (Hypothesis 1). Secondly, it was utilised to determine the between group variance in terms of the post-test scores for Group 1 (the experimental group) versus Group 2 (the control group) (Hypothesis 2). The paired samples t-test was also used for two analyses. Firstly, it was used to determine the within group variance regarding the pre-intervention test scores versus the post-intervention test scores for Group 1 (the experimental group)(Hypothesis 3). Secondly, the paired samples t-test was also utilised to determine if there were statistically significant differences in terms of the pre-test scores versus the post-test scores of Group 2 (the control group) who did not receive the intervention (Hypothesis 4). A short-term holistic group therapy model was applied based on the work of Broom (1997), Crafford (1985), Pretorius (1996) and Yalom (1970). The results of the study showed that there was a statistically significant improvement in the anxiety scores of Group 1 (the experimental group) after completion of the intervention when compared with Group 2 (the control group) who received no intervention. The within group depression and anxiety scores in the experimental group also revealed a statistically significant improvement after the intervention. However, the IBS symptom severity remained unchanged. Thus, it is concluded that holistic short-term group therapy is indicated in the treatment of severe IBS with comorbid depression and anxiety even if the IBS symptoms are unaltered. It is recommended that further research be conducted to ascertain whether holistic group therapy of a moderate duration (approximately eight to ten weeks) has a greater impact on the IBS symptom severity. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Irritable colon patients en
dc.subject Treatment of irritable colon patients en
dc.subject Psychotherapy en
dc.subject Mental depression en
dc.subject Anxiety en
dc.subject Irritable colon research en
dc.title A holistic group psychotherapeutic intervention for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and its comorobid depression and anxiety en
dc.type Thesis en


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