Measuring acceptance in irritable bowel syndrome: preliminary validation of an adapted scale and construct utility

Nuno Monteiro da Rocha Bravo Ferreira, Maria P. Eugenicos, Paul Graham Morris, David T. Gillanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: It has been well established that how irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients respond to their illness experiences (physical, psychological) has a great impact on their symptoms, psychosocial functioning and quality of life. Recently it has been shown that using acceptance coping strategies (rather than control coping strategies) is linked to positive outcomes in several chronic illness contexts (e.g. chronic pain, diabetes, epilepsy).This study is intended to evaluate the factor structure and other psychometric properties of an acceptance measure adapted for the IBS population (IBSAAQ) and to investigate its possible utility in the prediction of key IBS outcomes. METHODS: A sample of 121 IBS patients attending a specialized gastroenterology clinic completed a series of self-report measures assessing acceptance of IBS, general acceptance, symptom severity, IBS impact on quality of life, general quality of life, gastrointestinal-specific anxiety, avoidant coping behaviours, depression, anxiety and stress. RESULTS: Factor analysis supported a 2-factor structure explaining 48.5 % of variance. The total scale and its subscales (activity engagement/IBS willingness) were found to have adequate internal consistency (all α's > 0.80) and test-retest stability. Correlation analyses showed good convergent and concurrent validity. Regression analyses showed that the IBSAAQ and its subscales significantly contributed to the prediction of IBS outcomes. CONCLUSION: The IBSAAQ is a valid and reliable measure of acceptance in IBS. This measure might be of use for the study of the impact of coping strategies on outcomes in IBS and of the effectiveness of acceptance-based approaches (e.g. acceptance and commitment therapy).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1761-1766
Number of pages6
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Acceptance
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Psychometric properties
  • Quality of life
  • Psychosocial functioning


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