This study was done to examine the potential indirect effects of sleep on abdominal pain symptoms simultaneously through psychological distress and daytime dysfunction in adults with irritable bowel syndrome.
Daily symptoms of nighttime sleep complaints, psychological distress, daytime dysfunction, and abdominal pain were collected in baseline assessments from 2 randomized controlled trials of 332 adults with irritable bowel syndrome. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the global relationships among nighttime sleep complaints, psychological distress, daytime dysfunction, and abdominal pain.
The structural equation modeling analyses found a strong indirect effect of poor sleep on abdominal pain via daytime dysfunction but not psychological distress. More than 95% of the total effect of nighttime sleep complaints on abdominal pain was indirect.
These findings of this study concluded that the primary impact of nighttime sleep complaints on abdominal pain is indirect. The indirect effect appears primarily through daytime dysfunction. Such understanding provides a potential avenue to optimize personalized and hybrid behavioral interventions for adults with irritable bowel syndrome by addressing daytime dysfunction and sleep behaviors. Additional study integrating symptoms with biological markers is warranted to explore the underlying mechanisms accounting for these symptoms.