Background: The purpose of this article is to review research on psychosocial functioning in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and to provide recommendations for future research.
Methods: A literature search was conducted using the MEDLINE and PsychInfo computerized databases and bibliographies of relevant articles.
Results: Compared with healthy children, children with IBD are at greater risk of difficulties behavioral/emotional functioning, particularly depression and anxiety, social functioning, and self-esteem. Conflicting results have been reported for the areas of family dysfunction and body image, and few studies have been published in the areas of stress and coping and eating problems. Psychosocial difficulties are clinically significant in only a subset of those with IBD and are generally similar to those found in other pediatric chronic illnesses.
Conclusions: The scant existing research limits conclusions about which children are most likely to experience problems. Future research should investigate a range of psychosocial outcomes, including developmentally appropriate outcomes for adolescents, and risk factors for developing problems. Prevention and intervention strategies aimed at improving psychosocial functioning in children with IBD should be developed and evaluated.