Objectives: Patient comments and empirical studies suggest an influence of stress on inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). We performed a quality assessment of previous studies on the effect of stress reduction on IBD in order to formulate recommendations for future studies and to evaluate their potential for improvement.
Methods: Studies were searched for in the PubMed online library and in the bibliographies of the located sources. Based on an analysis of the study design and the methodology of individual studies, we made specific recommendations following recognized methodological principles and used them to evaluate the analyzed studies.
Results: The 10 studies identified differed in terms of exclusion criteria, distribution of characteristics, stress reduction, and effect measurements. The recommendations formulated had not been followed exhaustively in these studies.
Conclusions: Computation of sample size to detect relevant effects, orientation toward previous studies, documentation of potential confounders, and confidence intervals are criteria that are easy to consider and well-known, and that, if applied to future studies, might enhance the quality of IBD research.