Background : Irritable bowel syndrome is a common chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort associated with alterations in bowel habit. Irritable bowel syndrome affects patients’ quality of life and increases productivity loss.
Aim : To assess validity and accuracy of the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire in irritable bowel syndrome as a tool for quantifying the effects of irritable bowel syndrome on productivity and daily activities.
Methods : Validity and accuracy were evaluated in 135 irritable bowel syndrome patients relative to three measures of irritable bowel syndrome disease severity; a debriefing questionnaire; retrospective diary; Work Limitations Questionnaire, and an activity impairment measure (Dimensions of Daily Activities).
Results : Symptom severity scores, diary scores, Work Limitations Questionnaire and Dimensions of Daily Activities were significant predictors of work productivity and activity impairment questionnaire in irritable bowel syndrome measures of work time missed, and work and activity productivity loss (P = 0.04 to < 0.0001). Impairment due to irritable bowel syndrome was estimated to be 2.9–4.3% for work time missed and 22–32% for impairment at work, the equivalent of 9.7 –14 h lost productivity per week. Activity impairment was 24–41%.
Conclusions : Discriminative validity of the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire in irritable bowel syndrome was established, making it the only validated tool for measuring the relative differences between disease severity groups and quantifying work productivity loss and activity impairment in irritable bowel syndrome patients.