Perception and Reality - A Study of Public Knowledge and Perceptions about Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Main Article Content

Yousef A. Qari https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8049-8106

Keywords

Functional bowel disorder, Gastrointestinal disorders, Irritable bowel syndrome, Knowledge

Abstract

Objective: This study aims to assess the publications knowledge base and attitudes toward irritable bowel syndrome.


Methods: This cross-sectional survey was conducted from February 1 through May 1, 2015, at public venues in Jeddah. A self-administered questionnaire was designed to assess the participants' knowledge of irritable bowel syndrome. Questions were categorized as high- or low-impact based on the relevance of the question to explore more serious underlying disease. An independent t-test was used to compare group means, assuming normal distribution.


Results: We recruited 376 participants; women accounted for 79.8% of the sample. Participants had fair knowledge about irritable bowel syndrome: the average frequency of correct answers on all 16 questions was 8.9 ± 2.0 (range, 3-14). One hundred sixty-one (42.8%) participants responded correctly to at least half of the questions that assessed knowledge of irritable bowel syndrome causes. Three hundred forty-four (91.5%) participants responded correctly to at least half of the questions that assessed knowledge of symptoms. Females were more knowledgeable on irritable bowel syndrome symptoms (p = 0.003). Respondents who had attended university were also more knowledgeable about irritable bowel syndrome symptoms (p = 0.032) and performed better on high-impact questions (4.3 ± 1.6 versus 3.8 ± 1.6 for respondents who had not attended university; p = 0.006).


Conclusion: Participants had a poor understanding of the causes and complications of irritable bowel syndrome, suggesting that there is room for appropriate programs to educate the population about this common condition.

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