Brenda B. Toner

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (91)438.78 Total impact

  • Danielle Katz, Brenda Toner
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    ABSTRACT: Substance use disorder (SUD) onset, trajectory, comorbidity, and outcome can differ greatly according to sex and gender. Mindfulness-based interventions are promising treatments for SUD; however, as of yet, no systematic review has organized the results of studies examining these treatments according to gender. The purpose of this review was to determine whether gender influences the efficacy and effectiveness of mindfulness-based treatments (MBTs) for substance use. A systematic review was conducted on journal databases, and out of 36 papers that met the criteria for inclusion, 6 included participant gender as a variable. Two papers based on one randomized controlled trial study failed to find gender differences in the efficacy of MBTs for substance use, though a number of quasi-experimental studies and case series did find that women gravitated more towards MBTs or that women may have benefitted more from mindfulness interventions. Overall, MBTs hold promise as treatments for SUD. Additional research on mindfulness-based interventions for SUDs is needed that includes gender as a variable.
    Mindfulness 12/2013; 4(4). DOI:10.1007/s12671-012-0132-3
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    ABSTRACT: Objective This study aimed to explore the relationships between gender-role socialization, objectified body consciousness and quality of life in breast cancer (BC) survivors with body image (BI) disturbance post-treatment. MethodsA total of 150 BC survivors participating in an ongoing randomized clinical trial of a group psychotherapy intervention for BI-related concerns completed a baseline battery of standardized measures including the following: Body Image Scale (BIS), Body Image after Breast Cancer Questionnaire (BIBCQ), Objectified Body Consciousness Scale (OBCS) measuring Body Shame and Surveillance, Gender-Role Socialization Scale (GRSS) measuring internalization of traditional gender roles and attitudes and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast Quality-of-Life Instrument (FACT-B). Correlational analyses were conducted between the two BI questionnaires, the two primary psychosocial variables GRSS and OBCS, and FACT-B. Path analysis was conducted on a proposed theoretical model delineating pathways between the two primary psychosocial variables and BI disturbance. ResultsSignificant positive correlations were found between the two BI scales and (a) GRSS (average r=0.53, p<0.000), (b) Body Shame (average r=0.53, p<0.000) and Surveillance (average r=0.48, p<0.000). The BIS and BIBCQ were negatively associated with the FACT-B (r=-0.62, -0.73, respectively; p<0.000). Results from the path analysis demonstrated support for the proposed model. Conclusion Breast cancer survivors who endorsed greater internalization of traditional gender roles and attitudes, who engaged in greater self-surveillance and experienced greater body shame, reported greater BI disturbance and poorer quality of life post-treatment. Women with these predispositions are likely to be more vulnerable for psychological distress and may experience poorer adjustment after BC treatment. Copyright (c) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Psycho-Oncology 03/2013; 22(10). DOI:10.1002/pon.3271 · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Physical activity is associated with reduced mortality and morbidity. Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is an effective intervention for patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). Unfortunately, women are less likely to engage in, or sustain, regular physical activity. Objectives were to (1) describe women's guidelines-based levels of physical activity during and after CR and (2) determine the physical activity trajectories of women from entry to CR to one year after CR. Methods and Results. A prospective, longitudinal study of 203 women with CVD enrolled in a 6-month CR program. Physical activity was measured using the Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire (LSI), focusing on moderate-strenuous activity. Data were analyzed using latent class growth analysis (LCGA) and logistic regression. Mean scores on the LSI showed women to be "active" at all follow-up points. LCGA revealed a two-class model, respectively, called "inactive relapsers" and "moderately active relapsers." Predictors of the "moderately active relapsers" class were employment status and diagnosis of myocardial infarction. Conclusions. Women achieved the recommended physical activity levels by the end of CR and sustained them until one year after CR. LCGA allowed us to determine the class trajectories associated with moderate-strenuous activity and, from these, to identify implications for targeted intervention.
    01/2013; 2013:121030. DOI:10.1155/2013/121030
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    ABSTRACT: Background:Recent advances in schizophrenia genetics are shedding new light on etiopathogenesis, but issues germane to translation of findings into clinical practice are relatively understudied. We assessed the need for, and efficacy of, a contemporary genetic counseling protocol for individuals with schizophrenia.Methods:After characterizing rare copy number variation in a cohort of adults with schizophrenia, we recruited subjects from the majority of individuals who had no clinically relevant structural genetic variant. We used a pre-post study design with longitudinal follow-up to assess both the profile of need and the impact of general genetic counseling on key knowledge-based and psychological factors.Results:Thirty-nine (60.0%) of 65 patients approached actively expressed an interest in the study. At baseline, participants (n = 25) tended to overestimate the risk of familial recurrence of schizophrenia, express considerable concern related to this perceived risk, endorse myths about schizophrenia etiology, and blame themselves for their illness. Postcounseling, there was a significant improvement in understanding of the empiric recurrence risk (P = .0090), accompanied by a decrease in associated concern (P = .0020). There were also significant gains in subjective (P = .0007) and objective (P = .0103) knowledge, and reductions in internalized stigma (P = .0111) and self-blame (P = .0401). Satisfaction with genetic counseling, including endorsement of the need for such counseling (86.4%), was high.Conclusions:These results provide initial evidence of need for, and efficacy of, genetic counseling for individuals with schizophrenia. The findings may help facilitate development of a contemporary genetic counseling process that could optimize outcomes in the nascent field of evidence-based psychiatric genetic counseling.
    Schizophrenia Bulletin 12/2012; DOI:10.1093/schbul/sbs138 · 8.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background:Myths and concerns about the extent and meaning of genetic risk in schizophrenia may contribute to significant stigma and burden for families. Genetic counseling has long been proposed to be a potentially informative and therapeutic intervention for schizophrenia. Surprisingly, however, available data are limited. We evaluated a contemporary genetic counseling protocol for use in a community mental health-care setting by non-genetics professionals. Methods: We used a pre-post study design with longitudinal follow-up to assess the impact of genetic counseling on family members of individuals with schizophrenia, where molecular testing had revealed no known clinically relevant genetic risk variant. We assessed the outcome using multiple measures, including standard items and scales used to evaluate genetic counseling for other complex diseases. Results: Of the 122 family members approached, 78 (63.9%) actively expressed an interest in the study. Participants (n = 52) on average overestimated the risk of familial recurrence at baseline, and demonstrated a significant improvement in this estimate postintervention (P < .0001). This change was associated with an enduring decrease in concern about recurrence (P = .0003). Significant and lasting benefits were observed in other key areas, including increased knowledge (P < .0001) and a decreased sense of stigma (P = .0047). Endorsement of the need for genetic counseling was high (96.1%). Conclusions: These results provide initial evidence of the efficacy of schizophrenia genetic counseling for families, even in the absence of individually relevant genetic test results or professional genetics services. The findings support the integration of contemporary genetic counseling for families into the general management of schizophrenia in the community.
    Schizophrenia Bulletin 10/2012; DOI:10.1093/schbul/sbs124 · 8.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For clinical trials in functional bowel disorders (FBD), the definition of a responder, one who meets the predefined criteria for a clinical response, is needed. Factors that determine clinical response aside from treatment itself are unknown. The aim of this study was to determine what baseline and post-treatment factors affect treatment response. Females (n=397) with FBD entering a 12-week, four-arm, randomized NIH treatment trial (desipramine (DES), CBT, pill placebo, and education) were studied at baseline and after treatment. Demographic, clinical, psychosocial, and physiological variables were considered in the analysis. A responder was defined as a patient obtaining a score>3.5 on an averaged eight-item, five-point satisfaction-with-treatment questionnaire. Baseline and post-treatment logistic regressions were performed for each treatment condition to predict the responder outcome variable. Similar cognitive features predisposed participants to treatment response across the treatment conditions: sense of control over the condition, positive relationship with therapist or study coordinator, confidence in treatment, improvement in maladaptive cognitions, and quality of life during treatment. Demographic and clinical variables studied were not predictive. Some treatment-specific effects predicting responder status were noted, including a reduction in stool frequency with DES treatment and lack of abuse history in the placebo group. For medication, psychological, and placebo treatment in FBD, satisfaction with treatment depends on cognitive factors of confidence in treatments, perceived control over illness and symptoms, and reduction in negative cognitions related to symptom experience. Addressing these issues among patients with FBD may enhance treatment response to a variety of treatments.
    The American Journal of Gastroenterology 06/2010; 105(6):1397-406. DOI:10.1038/ajg.2009.748 · 9.21 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 05/2010; 138(5). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(10)63278-7 · 12.82 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 05/2010; 138(5). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(10)63277-5 · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The implications of the Rome III recommendations to change the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) subtype criteria for stool pattern are unknown. (1) Determine the level of agreement between Rome II and Rome III subtypes and (2) compare the behaviors of Rome II and Rome III subtypes over time. Female patients (n=148) with Rome II defined IBS were prospectively tracked over 5 consecutive 3-month periods. At baseline, bowel habit reports on questionnaires were used to subclassify patients into Rome II and Rome III subtypes. Over the subsequent 15 months, bowel habit reports on diary cards were used to subclassify patients based on previously derived surrogate criteria into Rome II and Rome III IBS subtypes. The level of agreement between Rome II and Rome III subtype assignments was quite high (86.5%; kappa 0.79). The behavior of Rome II and Rome III subtypes over time was also similar in terms of subtype prevalence, subtype stability, and the proportion of subjects who met criteria for alternating irritable bowel syndrome. Rome II and Rome III IBS subtypes are in high agreement and behave similarly over time. Therefore, studies that used Rome II subtype criteria and studies that will use Rome III criteria will define comparable populations.
    Journal of clinical gastroenterology 04/2009; 43(3):214-20. DOI:10.1097/MCG.0b013e31815bd749 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders treated with tricyclic antidepressants sometimes report nongastrointestinal symptoms; it is unclear whether these are drug side effects or reflect a behavioral tendency to report symptoms. We evaluated whether symptoms reported before treatment with a tricyclic antidepressant (desipramine) increased in number or worsened in severity after 2 weeks of treatment and assessed the baseline factors that predispose patients to report symptoms. Female patients in a multicenter National Institutes of Health trial for functional bowel disorders completed a 15-item symptom questionnaire at baseline (before randomization), 2 weeks after they were given desipramine (n = 81) or placebo (n = 40), and at study completion (12 weeks). Patients were asked about the severity and frequency of 15 symptoms. Results were analyzed from 57 patients given desipramine who completed the questionnaires. Symptoms reported as side effects to have occurred more frequently and also worsened at week 2 in the group given desipramine included dizziness, dry mouth/thirstiness, lightheadedness, jittery feelings/tremors, and flushing. Symptoms that did not change in severity or showed improvement at week 2 in the group given desipramine included morning tiredness, nausea, blurred vision, headaches, appetite reduction, and trouble sleeping. Psychologic distress but not desipramine blood level correlated with symptom reporting. Most symptoms often attributed to side effects of desipramine were present before treatment; only a few, related to anticholinergic effects, worsened 2 weeks after treatment, suggesting that most so-called side effects were not associated specifically with desipramine use. Such symptoms might instead be associated with psychologic distress.
    Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology: the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association 11/2008; 7(4):446-51. DOI:10.1016/j.cgh.2008.11.014 · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the presence and nature of disordered eating attitudes and behaviours among Jewish Canadian adolescents, as compared with non-Jewish Canadian adolescents in an urban community. A secondary goal was to examine whether rates of eating-disordered behaviour differed among the adolescents based on the degree of Jewish religious observance. High school students (n = 868) from the Toronto area completed a demographic and religious practice questionnaire together with the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT), a self-report test that discriminated adolescents with syndromal eating disorders from normal adolescents. Jewish females aged 13 to 20 years, but not males, reported significantly more disordered eating behaviours and attitudes, compared with their non-Jewish female counterparts. Twenty-five percent of Jewish females, as compared with 18% of non-Jewish females, scored above the clinical cut-off for the EAT. No differences in vulnerability to disordered eating were found within the group of Jewish females or males related to their degree of religious observance. Adolescent Jewish females, but not males, appear to be at greater risk for abnormal attitudes and behaviours related to eating, compared with their non-Jewish female peers. While the reasons for this finding are unclear, this study is a step toward improving understanding of the relations between sex, culture, religion, and the development of eating disorders. Culturally sensitive and sex-specific prevention strategies and treatment interventions are indicated.
    Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie 10/2008; 53(9):601-8. · 2.41 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 04/2008; 134(4):A-417. DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(08)61954-X · 13.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There has been some question about the classification of painful constipation (PC) and its relationship to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and in particular IBS with constipation (IBS-C). We sought to: (1) compare PC with IBS and its subtypes (IBS-C, IBS-D, and IBS-A) in terms of pain scores, stool habit and clinical features, and to determine which factors predict PC over IBS, (2) determine the variation in pain and stool habit for PC relative to IBS over time, and (3) compare whether there are clinical differences between those with high pain constipation (HPC) and low pain constipation (LPC) over time. Among 231 women in an National Institutes of Health trial, Rome II moderate to severe PC (n=41), IBS-A (n=55), IBS-C (n=80), and IBS-D (n=55) received diary cards on stool frequency, consistency, and pain (visual analog scale) daily for 14 days before and after 12-week treatment and at 3-month intervals for 1 year. PC was characterized into HPC (high pain) and LPC (low pain) groups based on visual analog scale pain scores (high pain > or = 50 and low pain < 50) at baseline. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and comparisons performed by chi2 for categorical and t tests for continuous variables. Regressions and repeated measures tested between group and within-group associations, respectively. (a) PC is different from IBS with: higher pain scores (P=0.002), lower education (P=0.02), greater healthcare use and surgeries (P=0.05 to 0.003), and poorer daily function (Sickness Impact Profile overall P=0.004), (b) PC is similar to IBS-C and IBS-A but different from IBS-D for stool frequency and consistency (P<0.0001), bloating (P=0.02), laxative/antidiarrheal use (P=0.04 and 0.02), and lower education (P=0.02). (c) Over 1 year, PC: maintained higher pain scores than IBS, had stool frequencies less than IBS-D and between IBS-C and IBS-A, had stool consistency less than IBS-D and similar to IBS-A, (d) for HPC and LPC there was no difference in constipation, and HPC switched to LPC over time, while LPC pain scores stayed low. Limitations include the absence of a painless constipation group, and that studying moderate to severe symptoms, which may not represent all with PC or IBS. PC is clinically similar in stool pattern and bloating to IBS-C and IBS-A, but with greater pain, healthcare utilization, and poorer daily function. The findings also suggest that PC defines a population where there is greater pain, and poorer health status and daily function, which may be driven more by visceral and/or central pain dysregulation more than the constipation.
    Journal of clinical gastroenterology 01/2008; 42(10):1080-8. DOI:10.1097/MCG.0b013e31815146f9 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) represents about 1-3% of all cases of colorectal cancer (CRC). The objectives of the study were to examine motivational factors, expectations and psychosocial functioning in a sample of CRC survivors undergoing genetic testing for HNPCC. A cross-sectional survey of 314 colorectal cancer patients recruited through a population-based colon cancer family registry was conducted. Motivations for genetic testing for hereditary cancer were similar to those of clinic-based samples of CRC patients and included learning of the increased risk to offspring and finding out if additional screening was needed. While age at diagnosis and sex were associated with psychological functioning, significant predictors of post-counseling distress were perceived lower satisfaction with social support, an escape-avoidant coping style and the anticipation of becoming depressed if a mutation was present. Most cancer survivors anticipated disclosing test results to relatives and physicians. Cancer survivors reported several motivations for genetic testing for HNPCC that varied by sex. A subgroup of survivors with lower satisfaction with social support and an escape-avoidant coping style were worried about the potential impact of genetic test results and demonstrated more distress following counseling. Findings have implications for future research and potential support needs during the genetic counseling and testing process.
    Clinical Genetics 12/2007; 72(5):394-401. DOI:10.1111/j.1399-0004.2007.00893.x · 3.65 Impact Factor
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    Taryn N Tang, Keith Oatley, Brenda B Toner
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the life events and difficulties inherent to the immigration process and the sources of social support that influenced mental health. A six-month longitudinal study, utilizing a detailed semi-structured interview protocol and standardized questionnaires, was conducted with a group of Chinese women who had migrated to Canada with their spouses in the last decade. All of the women and all of their spouses experienced major downward mobility. Correspondingly, the most frequent negative life event was employment-related and the most frequent difficulty was the financial strain of living below the poverty line, factors which significantly predicted the women's mental health. Social support had neither a main effect on mental health nor a buffer effect on the relationship between life events and difficulties and mental health. Implications for immigration and settlement policy are discussed.
    Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 11/2007; 9(4):281-90. DOI:10.1007/s10903-007-9042-1 · 1.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Assessing health related quality of life (HRQOL) is becoming more important in research and clinical care. However, little information is available on the performance of HRQOL questionnaires for the functional bowel disorders (FBD). The aims of this study were to (a) understand the performance of the Sickness Impact Profile (SIP) and IBS-QOL for the functional bowel disorders at baseline and after treatment, (b) determine which HRQOL subscales best improve with treatment, (c) determine clinically meaningful improvement, and (d) determine the predictors of HRQOL at baseline and in response to treatment. Women with moderate to severe FBD were evaluated using both medical (desipramine vs placebo) and psychological (cognitive-behavioral therapy vs education) treatments. Clinical and psychosocial questionnaires along with the SIP and IBS-QOL were given at baseline and after 12-wk treatment. (a) Patients with FBD experience functional limitations in social interactions, home management, and recreational activities, respond emotionally to the pain, feel helpless, out of control, depressed, and irritable, and perceive restrictions in lifestyle relating to toilet accessibility, and eating; (b) HRQOL is not different among the FBD diagnoses or IBS subgroups; (c) the IBS-QOL is more responsive to treatment than the SIP; (d) meaningful clinical improvement is 2.8 points for SIP and 14 for IBS-QOL; and (e) improvement is demonstrated primarily in psychosocial rather than physical domains. In addition, we found that expectation of benefit is greater for taking a pill over a psychological intervention, and the predictive effects of abuse history and pain on outcome is mediated by psychosocial factors. The data support the value of the IBS-QOL over the SIP, and provide new information on the profile of impairment in FBD, and the ways in which medical and psychological treatments produce improvement in HRQOL.
    The American Journal of Gastroenterology 08/2007; 102(7):1442-53. DOI:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2007.01283.x · 9.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID) often experience emotional distress, a perceived lack of validation, and an unsatisfactory experience with health care providers. A health care provider can provide the patient with a framework in which to understand and legitimize their symptoms, remove self-doubt or blame, and identify factors that contribute to symptoms that the patient can influence or control. This framework can be strengthened with the consideration of various important factors that impact FGID but are often overlooked. These include gender, age, society, culture, and the patient's perspective. There is evidence for sex- and gender-related differences in FGID, particularly irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Whereas the majority of FGID, including IBS, bloating, constipation, chronic functional abdominal pain, and pelvic floor dysfunction, are more prevalent in women than men, functional esophageal and gastroduodenal disorders do not appear to vary by gender. Limited studies suggest that sex differences in visceral perception, cardioautonomic responses, gastrointestinal motility, and brain activation patterns to visceral stimuli exist in IBS. Gender differences in social factors, psychological symptoms, and response to psychological treatments have not been adequately studied. However, there appears to be a greater clinical response to serotonergic agents developed for IBS in women compared to men. The impact of social and cultural factors on the meaning, expression, and course of FGID are important. The prevalence of IBS appears to be lower in non-Western than Western countries. Although further studies are needed, the existing literature suggests that they are important to consider from both research and clinical perspectives.
    Gastroenterology 05/2006; 130(5):1435-46. DOI:10.1053/j.gastro.2005.09.071 · 13.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Relationships between trauma variables, complex post-traumatic stress disorder (complex PTSD), affect dysregulation, dissociation, somatization, and alexithymia were studied in 70 women with early-onset sexual abuse treated in community-based private (n = 25) or clinic outpatient settings (n = 45). Measures were the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 and the Psychological Trauma Assessment Program. Compared with the community sample, the clinic sample (1) met diagnostic criteria for both lifetime and current complex PTSD; (2) showed correlations between current affect dysregulation, dissociation, and somatization with alexithymia; and (3) higher levels of alexithymia. Results suggest the clinic sample continued to experience current forms of suffering, risk, and vulnerability associated with early-onset sexual trauma. The findings may have implications regarding types of treatment available in community versus clinic settings.
    Journal of Child Sexual Abuse 02/2006; 15(3):1-17. DOI:10.1300/J070v15n03_01 · 0.75 Impact Factor
  • 3rd 01/2006; Degnon Associates. Inc..
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    Brenda B Toner
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    ABSTRACT: There is increasing evidence that supports the view that irritable bowel disorder (IBS) is a disorder of brain-gut function. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has received increased attention in light of this recent shift in the conceptualization of IBS. This review has two main aims. The first is to provide a critical review of controlled trials on CBT for IBS. The second is to discuss ways of further developing CBT interventions that are more clinically relevant and meaningful to health care providers and individuals with a diagnosis of IBS. A theme from a CBT intervention will be presented to illustrate how CBT interventions can be incorporated within a larger social context. A review of CBT for IBS lends some limited support for improvement in some IBS symptoms and associated psychosocial distress. This conclusion needs to be expressed with some caution, however, in light of many methodological shortcomings including small sample sizes, inadequate control conditions and failure to identify primary versus secondary outcome measures. In addition, future studies will need to further develop more relevant CBT protocols that more fully integrate the patient's perspective and challenge social cognitions about this stigmatized disorder.
    CNS spectrums 12/2005; 10(11):883-90. DOI:10.1016/S0022-3999(01)00276-8 · 1.30 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
438.78 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • McMaster University
      • Faculty of Health Sciences
      Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • 1987–2013
    • University of Toronto
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      • • Department of Psychology
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2000–2009
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      • • Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
      • • Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders
      Chapel Hill, NC, United States
  • 2002–2008
    • SickKids
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2000–2006
    • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2001
    • Azienda Ospedaliera San Camillo Forlanini
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 1990
    • Clarke University
      Атина, Georgia, United States