Objective: Recent evidence indicates that interventions designed to improve emotional awareness reduce pain in irritable bowel syndrome. This preliminary study sought to determine whether trait emotional awareness is associated with typical pain in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Methods: Healthy volunteers (n = 66) and irritable bowel syndrome patients (n = 50) were asked to self-report their typical levels of pain intensity and complete both the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale and the Somatization Scale of the Brief Symptom Inventory. Results: Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale scores in irritable bowel syndrome patients did not differ from scores in healthy participants; however, higher Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale scores in irritable bowel syndrome patients predicted lower levels of typical pain intensity (r(45) = −.36, p =.01, 95% CI [−.59, −.08]) and lower levels of somatization (r(45)= −.31, p =.03, 95% CI [−.55, −.02]). Conclusions: This inverse relationship between emotional awareness and both pain and somatization symptoms is consistent with evidence that irritable bowel syndrome patients experience reduced pain from therapies designed to improve emotional awareness. The Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale could potentially be used to identify patients who could benefit from such therapy and could potentially be a moderator of response to efficacious psychological therapies.
- Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale
- disease management
- emotional awareness
- irritable bowel syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas