In this study, Dr Nicholas Verne from Gainesville, Florida, assessed the public perception of irritable bowel syndrome with respect to its prevalence and impact on society. He also evaluated the public's knowledge of this condition.
Dr Verne conducted a telephone survey of 1014 adults in the United States in May 2002.
Telephone numbers were selected by a random digit-dialing technique to ensure an independent sample.
The interview included a standard set of demographic questions. It also included 3 questions on 5 chronic medical conditions (irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, coronary heart disease, depression, and diabetes).
|9% of respondents believed IBS to be a leading cause of absenteeism.|
|Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology|
Dr Verne found that only 1% of the respondents believed that irritable bowel syndrome affected more Americans than the other chronic conditions.
In addition, only 9% of respondents believed irritable bowel syndrome to be the second leading cause of absenteeism from work or school.
Furthermore, 44% of the respondents stated that, of the 5 disorders, they knew the least about irritable bowel syndrome.
Dr Verne concluded, "The survey results demonstrate a striking gap between the public perception of irritable bowel syndrome and reality, as well as a lack of public knowledge about irritable bowel syndrome".
"These findings reinforce the need for public education initiatives to raise awareness and knowledge about the prevalence and impact of irritable bowel syndrome".