Classification and differentiation of bladder and bowel related anxieties: A socio-cognitive exploration

  • Kenley L. J. Kuoch
  • Denny Meyer
  • David W. Austin
  • Simon R. KnowlesEmail author


The current study aimed to explore the validity of a single, self-report measure for bladder and bowel anxieties (Bladder and Bowel Anxiety Grouping Item; BABAGI), using two appropriate scales entitled the Shy Bladder and Bowel Scale (SBBS) and the Bladder and Bowel Incontinence Phobia Severity Scale (BBIPSS). This study also aimed to examine the similarities and differences in dysfunctional attitudes (DAs), fear of negative and positive evaluation (FNE and FPE), concerns of social reprisal (CSR), and disqualification of positive social outcomes (DPSO) across individuals who self-identify as having paruresis/parcopresis, incontinence anxiety, or neither condition according to the BABAGI measure. Three-hundred-and-six undergraduate students (77.1% female; mean age = 31.18 years) completed a cross-sectional, online study. The results supported the hypothesis that by using the BABAGI, self-reported paruresis/parcopresis could be reliably identified by SBBS scores of above 6.75 and that self-reported incontinence anxiety could be reliably identified by BBIPSS scores above 15.21. The results also supported the hypothesis that individuals who self-identified as having paruresis/parcopresis or incontinence anxiety would score higher in socio-cognitive processes (DAs, FNE, FPE, CSR, DPSO) compared to individuals who self-identified as having neither condition. Given that the paruresis/parcopresis and incontinence anxiety groups do not significantly differ from each other with respect to socio-cognitive processes, this suggests that both sets of conditions share similar underlying psychosocial processes.


Paruresis Parcopresis Bladder and bowel incontinence anxiety Socio-cognitive Psychosomatic 



The authors would like to thank all the individuals who participated in our research.


This research was conducted through the support of the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest


Provenance and peer review.

Not commissioned, externally peer reviewed.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenley L. J. Kuoch
    • 1
  • Denny Meyer
    • 2
    • 3
  • David W. Austin
    • 4
  • Simon R. Knowles
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesSwinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Statistics, Data Science and EpidemiologySwinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Mental HealthSwinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.School of PsychologyDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatrySt Vincent’s HospitalMelbourneAustralia
  6. 6.Department of MedicineThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  7. 7.Department of Gastroenterology and HepatologyRoyal Melbourne HospitalMelbourneAustralia

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