Dysfunctional metacognitive beliefs and gastrointestinal disorders. Beyond an ‘organic’/‘functional’ categorization in the clinical practice

Maria Catena Quattropani, Vittorio Lenzo, Walter Fries, Alessandra Belvedere


Background: Despite the role of metacognition in psychopathology, no studies have explored this construct in the area of gastrointestinal disorders. Moreover, for many times there was a categorization between organic and functional gastrointestinal disorders. The aim of this study was to compare dysfunctional metacognitive beliefs between patients with functional bowel disorders and patients with organic bowel disorders. The purpose of this work was also to examine the relations between metacognitions, alexithymia and symptoms of the patients on the basis of diagnosis. Methods: A between-subject non parametric and correlational design was employed. We formed three clinical groups from a population of patients with gastrointestinal disorders and on the basis of the ‘organic’ and ‘functional’ diagnosis. All the participants underwent the Metacognitions Questionnaire 30, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 and Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale. Results: There were no significant differences between the three clinical groups on MCQ-30 and TAS-20 scores. However, there were significant correlations based on diagnosis of the gastrointestinal disorder between alexithymic features and metacognitive dysfunctional beliefs. Conclusions: Our results underline the role of metacognitions for both patients with organic and functional gastrointestinal disorders. Moreover, the results highlight the importance to consider these aspects in patients with organic gastrointestinal disorder. Keywords: alexithymia; Crohn’s disease; IBS; metacognition; ulcerative colitis.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.6092/2282-1619/2014.2.955


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