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February 10, 1984

Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: A Behavioral Medicine Approach

Author Affiliations

Harvard Medical School Boston

JAMA. 1984;251(6):809-810. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340300093044

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


While irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is, indeed, familiar to most physicians, it is a syndrome for which there seems to be little agreement as to diagnostic criteria. It is the thesis of this book that current explanatory models for functional bowel disorders in general, and IBS in particular, are inadequate to account for all of the complex clinical features involved. With this in mind, the author, a psychiatrist, proposes an alternative behavior model explaining IBS with a behavioral-analysis approach for therapy.

In the first half of the book (chapters 1 through 5), the author gives an extensive review of the literature, with tables comparing studies on IBS. These chapters are most informative and provide a good perspective on the field. Before the literature review on colonic physiology, chapter 4 provides an excellent primer on colonic physiology for the nongastroenterologist.

The remainder of the book is devoted to expanding the author's