Higher Emotional Awareness Is Associated With Reduced Pain in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients: Preliminary Results

Ryan Smith, Gregory D. Gudleski, Richard D. Lane, Jeffrey M. Lackner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2227-2247
Number of pages21
JournalPsychological reports
Volume123
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

Keywords

  • Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale
  • Pain
  • cognition
  • disease management
  • emotional awareness
  • irritable bowel syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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