Psychiatry Investig.  2017 Jul;14(4):434-440. 10.4306/pi.2017.14.4.434.

Psychological Factors Influence the Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Their Effect on Quality of Life among Firefighters in South Korea

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Republic of Korea.
  • 2Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Republic of Korea.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the characteristics of psychological factors that are related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and their effects on the quality of life (QOL) of firefighters in South Korea.
This study examined data collected from 1217 firefighters in South Korea. After identifying firefighters with IBS according to the Rome III diagnostic criteria for functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs), we collected demographic data and psychological variables through self-administered questionnaires. In order to observe the distribution of the high-risk group in the Korean occupational stress scale (KOSS) subcategories, we conducted logistic multiple linear regression. The correlations between psychological factors and QOL were analyzed and we performed a stepwise regression analysis.
The groups (firefighters with and without IBS) showed differences by sex, working period, task, working pattern, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-7, Korean Occupational Stress Scale, Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale, and the World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF. IBS risk was higher in the following KOSS subcategories: job demand (OR 1.79, 95% CI: 1.11-2.89), interpersonal conflict (OR 2.21, 95% CI: 1.25-4.33), organizational system (OR 1.87, 95% CI: 0.58-3.30), and lack of reward (OR 2.39, 95% CI: 1.08-5.26). The final regression model explained 42.6% of the variance in overall quality of life.
The findings of this study indicate that a number of psychological factors increase the likelihood of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and affect QOL. Therefore, when diagnosing IBS in the future, mental health aspects should be considered in addition to physical health.


Irritable bowel syndrome; Occupational stress; Quality of life; Depression; Firefighters
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