The incidence and risk factors for developing depression after being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease: a cohort study

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Apr;39(8):802-10. doi: 10.1111/apt.12669. Epub 2014 Mar 3.


Background: Studies have found that depression is more frequent in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) than the general population. Clinicians are now trying to pinpoint risk factors for psychological impairment in the IBD population.

Aims: To examine the demographic and phenotypic variables associated with the development of depression among a diverse cohort of IBD patients. We also sought to describe psychotropic therapy prescribed to IBD patients.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study including patients with Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) without a prior psychiatric diagnosis and followed in the gastroenterology clinics of the private university hospital and public safety net hospital at a large academic centre in Miami (Florida). Predictive variables included demographic characteristics, IBD phenotype, exposure to IBD medications, history of a surgical stoma or seton placement, extra-intestinal manifestations, laboratory indices, aggressive disease and disease activity (based on imaging and endoscopic parameters). Proportional hazard regression models and stepwise Cox regression analysis were used for statistical analysis.

Results: Independent predictors of depression were female gender [HR: 1.3 (95% CI: 1.1-1.7), P = 0.01], aggressive disease [HR: 1.4 (95% CI: 1.02-1.9), P = 0.03] and active disease [HR: 1.5 (95% CI: 1.1-2.0), P = 0.04]. In the group that did develop a depressive disorder, 65% received pharmacologic therapy with one or more psychotropic agents.

Conclusions: We found female gender, aggressive disease and increased endoscopic/radiological activity to be independently associated with the development of depression in inflammatory bowel disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / complications*
  • Crohn Disease / complications*
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Endoscopy / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors


  • Psychotropic Drugs