BACKGROUND:The relation of demographic and psychological factors to the presence and extent of gut transit impairment in the functional gastrointestinal disorders has received little attention. AIMS:To compare the psychosocial and demographic features of patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders and delayed transit in one region of the gastrointestinal tract with those displaying more widespread delayed transit (that is, delay in two or three regions), and those with normal transit in all three regions. PATIENTS:Of 110 outpatient participants who satisfied standardised criteria for functional gastrointestinal disorders, 46 had delayed transit in one region, 32 had delay in two or three regions, and 17 exhibited normal transit in all regions. METHODS:Transit in the stomach, the small intestine, and the large intestine was assessed concurrently using a wholly scintigraphic technique; psychological status was assessed using established psychometric measures. RESULTS:Patients with delayed transit displayed demographic and psychological features that contrasted with patients with normal transit in all regions. In particular, widespread delayed transit featured female sex, a highly depressed mood state, increased age, frequent control of anger, and more severe gastric stasis, while the features distinguishing normal transit were male sex and high levels of hypochondriasis. CONCLUSION:These data suggest the existence of a distinct psychophysiological subgroup, defined by the presence of delayed transit, in patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders.