Gut interpretations: how difficulties in emotion regulation may help explain the relation of visceral sensitivity with depression and anxiety among young adults with gastrointestinal symptoms

Michael Zvolensky, Charles Jardin, Samantha G. Farris, Brooke Kauffman, Jafar Bakhshaie, Lorra Garey, Kara Manning, Andrew H. Rogers, Nubia A. Mayorga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

It is widely recognized that abdominal pain and discomfort are common problems in the United States and are often associated with negative quality of life. The prevalence of anxiety/depression elevations and disorders among persons with gastrointestinal disturbances (GI) is estimated to be at least two to three times the rate in the general population. Visceral sensitivity reflects anxiety about GI sensations and its accompanying contexts and often leads to worsening of sensations (e.g. bloating, upset stomach, diarrhea). Among individuals with GI symptoms, visceral sensitivity may be associated with interpreting common sensations as catastrophic which may be related to greater difficulties with emotion dysregulation (e.g. severe anxiety and depression). The current study evaluated the indirect association of visceral sensitivity via emotion dysregulation in relation to depression, anxious arousal, and social anxiety symptoms among 344 young adults with a current history of GI symptoms and problems. Results indicated an indirect effect of visceral sensitivity via emotion dysregulation. These findings provide novel empirical support for the association of visceral sensitivity with emotional distress symptoms among young adults with GI symptoms. Based on the results, targeting emotion dysregulation may be a promising health promotion tactic among young adults with GI symptoms and disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)840-845
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Volume23
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 9 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Keywords

  • Visceral sensitivity
  • depression/anxiety
  • emotion dysregulation
  • gastrointestinal symptoms and disorders
  • young adulthood (18 yrs & older)

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