The brain-gut-microbiome axis: assessing the relationship between gastrointestinal experiences and mental health

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Buckley, Amy
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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This study aimed to test whether the relationship between gastrointestinal and mental health observed in clinical samples, extends to a non-clinical sample. This relationship is explained by the brain-gut-microbiome axis. The study also aimed to assess the impact of probiotic use on the axis. An online mixed-methods survey was used to contact participants (N=102). The DASS-21 and PROMIS scales for Belly Pain and Reflux were used. Analysis showed that gastrointestinal experiences significantly predicted stress. Gastrointestinal experiences also significantly predicted anxiety. Depression had a moderate, significant relationship with reflux and a weak, significant relationship with abdominal pain. No significant difference was found in the mental health scores of those that take probiotics. Awareness of the link between gastrointestinal and mental experiences was assessed qualitatively. Thematic analysis revealed gastrointestinal experiences as a theme, demonstrating public awareness. The study provides support for the brain-gut-microbiome axis, this has important implications for mental health interventions.