A population-based study of associations between functional gastrointestinal disorders and psychosocial characteristics in Xi'an, China

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Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are disorders with chronic and recurring gastrointestinal symptoms. This study investigated the prevalence of FGIDs, assessed the association between FGIDs and psychosocial factors, and identified potential risk factors for FGIDs in a population in Xi'an, China.


Of 752 recruited residents in Xi'an, 720 were selected for an epidemiological survey using a cluster sampling method. All subjects were interviewed face-to-face to complete the Chinese version of ROME III FGIDs questionnaire, the Symptom Check-List-90, the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, a Life Event Scale, and a questionnaire regarding personal childhood adversity. The prevalence of FGIDs and associations between FGIDs and psychosocial factors were determined using EpiData Software. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the potential risk factors for FGIDs.

Key Results

The prevalence of FGIDs in this sample population was 14.3% (103/720). There were 13 (1.8%) cases of overlap of different FGIDs. No significant difference in the prevalence of FGIDs was observed between men and women. Alcohol intake and smoking habits were significantly associated with the presence of FGIDs. The presence of FGIDs was significantly associated with psychological factors and influences such as personality type, life events, childhood adversity, and psychopathology. The potential risk factors for contracting FGIDs were certain life events, childhood adversity, somatization, and a hostile affect (P < 0.001).

Conclusions & Inferences

The prevalence of FGIDs and overlap syndrome in Xi'an, China was lower than that reported in other countries. There was a strong correlation between specific lifestyle habits and psychosocial characteristics and the presence of FGIDs.

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