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Intervening on cognitions and behavior in irritable bowel syndrome: a feasibility trial using PDAs.

Oerlemans, S., Cranenburgh, O. van, Herremans, P.J., Spreeuwenberg, P., Dulmen, S. van. Intervening on cognitions and behavior in irritable bowel syndrome: a feasibility trial using PDAs. Journal of Psychosomatic Research: 2011, 70(3), p. 267-277.
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Objective: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, chronic, and often disabling disorder. Cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in alleviating IBS symptoms. The aim of this study was to establish the feasibility and the efficacy of a cognitive-behavioral e-intervention using personal digital assistants (PDAs) on the self-management of IBS patients. Methods: A feasibility trial was conducted with 38 control group patients receiving standard care and 37 intervention group patients receiving standard care supplemented with a 4-week CBT intervention on PDAs. All patients fulfilled the diagnostic Rome III criteria for IBS. At baseline, 4-week, and 3-month follow-up, patients' abdominal pain, dysfunctional cognitions, IBS quality of life, and pain catastrophizing thoughts were assessed using written questionnaires. Results: Between-group comparisons between baseline and 4 weeks showed more overall quality of life improvement, more improvement in catastrophizing thoughts, and more pain improvement in the intervention group. Only improvement in catastrophizing thoughts persisted in the long-term. No significant differences between groups were found for dysfunctional cognitions. As all 37 intervention group patients completed the intervention and completed diaries three times a day for 4 weeks, the e-health intervention seems feasible. Conclusions: A cognitive–behavioral intervention on pocket-type computers appears feasible and efficacious for improving IBS-related complaints and cognitions in the short-term. The intervention group improved on several aspects, but most on catastrophizing thoughts, and these improvements even persisted after 3 months. Future studies should focus on unravelling the effective components of this innovative e-health intervention. (aut. ref.)