Purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop a motivation-enhanced self-management (MESM) intervention for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and to evaluate its effects on female college students with IBS. Methods: The program was constructed to reflect the conceptual framework of the self-determination theory including autonomous motivation enhancement strategy through the satisfaction of psychological needs. The experimental group (n=24) participated in the all eight weekly MESM sessions, and the control group (n=25) received one hour education of IBS. Primary outcome measures were the IBS symptom severity scale (IBS-SSS) and the IBS specific quality of life (IBS-QOL), and assessed at the baseline and at eight and 16 weeks after the allocation. Others were autonomous motivation, self-determined behavior, and psychological distress assessed at the baseline and at eight weeks. Results: The experimental group showed improvement in the IBS-SSS (p<.001) at 16 weeks compared to the control group. They showed markedly more improvement in the IBS QOL (p=.008), but the magnitude of this difference decreased at 16 weeks. The experimental group showed improvements in autonomous motivation (p=.035), self-determined behavior (p=.023), and psychological distress (p=.044) compared to the control group. Conclusion: Study results suggest that the MESM intervention for female college students may effectively improve the IBS-SSS and the QOL.
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