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Systematic review
Predicting the development of psychological morbidity in inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review


Background Psychological morbidity in inflammatory bowel disease is common with significant impact on quality of life and health outcomes, but factors which predict the development of psychological morbidity are unclear.

Aim To undertake a systematic literature review of the predictors of psychological morbidity in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Methods Electronic searches for English-language articles were performed with keywords relating to psychological morbidity according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV and subsequent criteria, and inflammatory bowel disease; in MEDLINE, PsychInfo, Web of Science and EMBASE for studies published from January 1997 to 25 January 2019.

Results Of 660 studies identified, seven met the inclusion criteria. All measured depression, with three also measuring anxiety. Follow-up duration was variable (median of 18 months range 6–96 months). Risk factors identified for development of psychological morbidity included physical factors: aggressive disease (HR 5.77, 95% CI 1.89 to 17.7) and greater comorbidity burden (OR 4.31, 95% CI 2.83 to 6.57) and psychological risk factors: degree of gratitude (r=−0.43, p<0.01) and parenting stress (R-change=0.03, F(1,58)=35.6, p<0.05). Age-specific risk was identified with young people (13–17 years) at increased risk.

Conclusions Identifiable risks for the development of psychological morbidity in inflammatory bowel disease include physical and psychological factors. Further research is required from large prospective studies to enable early interventions in those at risk and reduce the impact of psychological morbidity.

  • psychology
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • psychological stress

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