The influence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) on Undergraduate Students’ Academic Performance, Anxiety, and their Quality of Life 

Sawsan S. Al-Rawi 1, Mohamed Sadeq Al-Ibrahim2, Ahmad Hamdy Ibrahim 3 

1. Biology Education Department, Faculty of Education, Tishk International University, 100mt St, near Baz intersection, Erbil, KRG/ Iraq.

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2. Duhok Polytechnic University, College of Health and Medical Techniques, Shekhan, Duhok, KRG, Iraq. [email protected] 

3. Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy, TISHK International University, 100mt St, near Baz intersection, Erbil, KRG/ Iraq.

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Published: February 22, 2023


Undergraduate Students are vulnerable groups suffer from various health and mental problems such as eating disorders, obesity, depression, anxiety, and stress, which have been linked to IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disease of the lower gastrointestinal tract. It causes several painful abdominal symptoms that can affect an individual’s life and cause emotional and psychiatric comorbidities. In this study, 357 students participated in a cross-sectional study to investigate how IBS symptoms affect anxiety levels, quality of life, and academic performance in undergraduate students. The IBS was assessed by Rome III criteria, and the Birmingham IBS Symptom Questionnaire. Anxiety was assessed using the Beck Anxiety Inventory and quality of life using the IBS-QOL Questionnaire. The results showed that diet, lifestyle, and cultural habits are critical factors affecting students’ health significantly. IBS prevalence was 16%, with females having a higher prevalence than males. It has been found that the student’s academic performance is affected significantly by their physical and mental health which affects their grades. Students who suffered from IBS were majority from medical departments with high levels of anxiety and had a low GPA of CC. In addition, the majority reported having a quality of life below average and insufficient knowledge about IBS. Both positive and negative correlations were found between the demographic variables. However, levels of anxiety and quality of life were positively significantly correlated. The finding indicates that several factors are affecting the academic performance of undergraduate students and their development. Undergraduate students might suffer from anxiety and stress that will affect their quality of life and academic performance due to their health condition. IBS incidence in undergraduate students could be caused by diet, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. This condition not affecting only their academic performance, but also affects their social lives and their characteristics.  

Keywords: Anxiety, Academic, Life, Performance, Quality, Students. 

DOI: 10.23918/vesal2023v35