Physiological stress responsivity and perceived stress among subjects with irritable bowel syndrome

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This study sought to evaluate perceived and physiological stress responsivity among subjects with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Nineteen females with IBS symptoms and 19 nonsymptomatic female comparison participants participated in the experiment. Participants completed a series of personality and mood questionnaires, as well as a laboratory procedure measuring cardiovascular responses and perceived stress while performing laboratory tasks (i.e., the Stroop Color Naming Test and a Serial 7s subtraction task). Although participants did not significantly differ in blood pressure during the laboratory procedures, IBS participants had significantly lower pulse rates during the procedure. IBS participants perceived the laboratory tasks as being more stressful than comparison participants, which was measured by self-report. Results suggest that IBS sufferers may be more sensitive to perceived stress than others.