Words fail me: The VIQ deficit in inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

Christine Wilson, Christine P Dancey, Elizabeth A Attree, George Stuart, Amanda Sonnet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many chronic illnesses are accompanied by impaired cognitive functioning. In people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), there is some research to suggest a decrement in verbal IQ (VIQ), when compared to people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and healthy controls. Although this is an important finding, it is necessary to ensure that such deficits are not due to methodological problems such as the failure to take into account pre-morbid functioning.

A total of 88 people (IBD, N = 29; IBS, N = 29; Controls, N = 30) completed the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI), the Wechsler Test of Adult Reading (WATR), the Trait Rumination Questionnaire (TRQ), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12).

We found evidence of a VIQ decrement in both IBD and IBS groups when measured against both healthy controls and against their own pre-morbid IQ scores (WTAR-Predicted WAIS-III IQ measures). However, the decrement was larger (and of clinical significance) in the IBD group but not in the IBS group.

Some tentative evidence is presented which suggests that poor VIQ performance may be due in part to interference from excessive rumination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852 - 857
Number of pages5
JournalInflammatory Bowel Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • IBD
  • IBS
  • neuropsychological function
  • IQ
  • anxiety
  • rumination
  • illness


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