Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID), which is biopsychosocial in nature, with a gut-brain interaction. IBS has no biological marker and is often diagnosed through exclusion of other diagnostic possibilities, making it challenging to treat and often frustrating for individuals who suffer from it. Most IBS patients will first present at their family medicine physicians’ offices, as it is the most common FGID. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a difference in knowledge about IBS and whether there were negative attitudes toward IBS among family medicine physicians and among patients diagnosed with IBS. Family medicine physicians, including family medicine residents, and IBS patients, completed surveys to study their attitudes toward and knowledge about IBS, including demographic questionnaires, an attitudes measure, and a 14-item knowledge questionnaire. This study found that IBS patients and family medicine physicians both lack knowledge about IBS. This study also found that family medicine physicians perceive more of a lack of control over IBS, perceive more negative emotions related to IBS, and perceive IBS to be more chronic, compared to IBS patients. Further, IBS patients perceive their IBS to be more puzzling and mysterious to them compared to family medicine physicians. Due to these results, more education and training is needed about IBS for family medicine physicians, who can then educate their patients appropriately about the condition.