Mood disorders in inflammatory bowel disease: relation to diagnosis, disease activity, perceived stress, and other factors

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2012 Dec;18(12):2301-9. doi: 10.1002/ibd.22916. Epub 2012 Feb 22.


Background: Anxiety and depression are common in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); however, the factors associated with mood disorders in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD) are poorly defined.

Methods: In all, 103 patients with UC, 101 with CD, and 124 healthy controls completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Disease activity was defined both from symptom scores and in UC endoscopically, and in CD by fecal calprotectin and/or serum C-reactive protein. Multivariate regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with anxiety and depression.

Results: In both UC and CD, anxiety (HADS-A) and depression (HADS-D) scores were higher than in controls (HADS-A: 8.5 ± 4.1 [mean ± SD], 8.6 ± 3.9, 3.2 ± 1.8, P < 0.001; and HADS-D: 4.1 ± 3.3, 4.7 ± 3.3, 1.7 ± 1.4, P < 0.001, respectively). There were no differences in the prevalence of mild, moderate, and severe anxiety and depression in UC and CD. In UC, anxiety scores were associated with perceived stress and a new diagnosis of IBD; depression was associated with stress, inpatient status, and active disease. In CD, anxiety was associated with perceived stress, abdominal pain, and lower socioeconomic status, and depression with perceived stress and increasing age.

Conclusions: Anxiety and depression are common in IBD. Perceived stress is associated with mood disturbances in both UC and CD, but the other associated factors differ in the two diseases. Gastroenterologists should look for mood disorders in IBD and consider stress management and psychotherapy in affected patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / complications
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / psychology
  • Crohn Disease / complications
  • Crohn Disease / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / etiology
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / complications
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / psychology*
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / analysis
  • Male
  • Mood Disorders / etiology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex