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NO001 The beneficial effects of mindfulness training on fatigue and psychosocial functioning in patients with inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome: a pilot study

G. Drent*1, M. Kuiken2, J. Mooibroek1, G. Dijkstra1, M. Schroevers3

1University Medical Centre Groningen, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Groningen, Netherlands, 2University Medical Centre Groningen, Paramedical support, Groningen, Netherlands, 3University Medical Centre Groningen, Health Sciences, Groningen, Netherlands


Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can have a large influence on psychosocial functioning. Previous research in patients with IBD and IBS has found possible beneficial effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).The first aim of our pilot study was to investigate the beneficial effects of MBSR on fatigue, psychosocial functioning (including anxiety, depression, and well-being), illness perceptions, and mindfulness in adult patients with IBD and IBS. The second aim was to examine patients’ motivation for participating in mindfulness training.


A pre-post design without a control group was used for this pilot study. The MBSR training was based on a structured protocol for MBSR and consisted of 8 weekly meetings of 2.5 hours each and homework assignments. Respondents filled out validated questionnaires, once for pre-training and twice for post-training. Measures were fatigue (MFI), anxiety and depression (HADS), well-being (WHO-5 and VAS scale [1–10]), illness perception (IPQ-R), and mindfulness (FFMQ). Motivation for participation was examined by means of structured self-report items in the questionnaire.


In 2014, 3 MBSR groups started with a total of 24 participants. The attrition rate was 16.6% (n = 4), meaning 20 patients were included for further analysis. The majority of participants were female (90%), with a mean age of 40.7 years (SD 13.7; range 1–93 yr). The median scores on well-being (WHO-5 and VAS), HADS, MFI, and IPQ-R showed improvements from baseline to T1 and T2 (= 3 months after T1), indicating possible beneficial effects of MBSR. All 5 facets of mindfulness also showed improvement from baseline to T1, with a less significant effect at T2, except for nonjudging. The latter facet improved further and indicates that participants were less judgmental towards their thoughts and feelings. The most frequently reported motivation for participating in the study was to experience less disease-related stress. The training sessions were rated as very useful by 75% of the participants. None of the participants reported that it was not useful at all.


The results of the pilot study suggest that MBSR may have beneficial effects on fatigue and psychosocial functioning in patients with IBD and IBS. A large RCT is planned in IBD patients to draw definite conclusions about the beneficial effects of mindfulness training for patients with IBD.