Irritable bowel syndrome in Hungary: how do patients view their illness?

Dancey, Christine P.; Stenner, Paul; Attree, Elizabeth A.; Coogan, Joy; Kovács, Ágota and Bàrdos, György (2009). Irritable bowel syndrome in Hungary: how do patients view their illness? Clinical and Experimental Medical Journal, 3(3) pp. 487–498.




Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder which exists in every country where it has been investigated. The ways in which people understand the nature and causes of their illness may have implications for the way in which the patients relate to their doctors and the ways in which they manage their illness. The views of the causes and treatment of IBS may also depend on the country in which it is studied, and in Hungary there is no published research on the way in which patients understand the nature of their IBS. The present study used Q-methodology to investigate the ways in which Hungarian IBS patients view their illness. A taxonomy of 5 distinct accounts were identified — these were labelled (a) IBS — a psychological problem caused by worry and stress (b) a problem of body, not mind (c) IBS has many causes — but relieving the symptoms is more important than knowing the cause (d) IBS is depressing and linked to family dynamics and (e) IBS does not cause depression. The accounts are discussed in relation to similarities and differences between Hungarian and UK patients, and to important themes which emerged from the data.

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