Emotional abuse, self-blame, and self-silencing in women with irritable bowel syndrome

Alisha Ali, Brenda B. Toner, Noreen Stuckless, Ruth Gallop, Nicholas E. Diamant, Michael I. Gould, Eva I. Vidins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the presence of emotional abuse and two psychosocial constructs (self-blame and self- silencing) in a sample of women diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) relative to a comparison sample of women diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Methods: Women diagnosed with IBS (N = 25) were compared with women diagnosed with IBD (N = 25) on measures of history of abuse, self- blame, and self-silencing. Results: It was found that women in the lBS sample scored significantly higher on emotional abuse, self-blame, and self- silencing than did women in the IBD sample. These three variables were also found to be significantly intercorrelated in both the IBS and IBD samples. Finally, emotional abuse was significantly higher in IBS patients than in IBD patients beyond the differences accounted for by physical and/or sexual abuse history. Conclusions: These findings empirically demonstrate an association between IBS and emotional abuse, as well as a possible connection with psychosocial variables, that may mediate the connection between emotional abuse and functional bowel symptoms. We suggest that these variables be further evaluated in the context of clinically relevant research on IBS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-82
Number of pages7
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Emotional abuse
  • Functional somatic syndromes
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Self- silencing
  • Selfblame

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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