Depression Screening in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinics: Recommendations and a Toolkit for Implementation

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2020 Jan;70(1):42-47. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002499.


Objective: Rates of youth depression are increasing, and approximately 75% of adolescents with depression go unrecognized. Research in pediatric IBD documents increased depression risk, with rates up to 25%, as well as worse adherence and treatment outcomes associated with depressive symptoms. Evidence-based psychological interventions improve the physical and emotional health of these patients, highlighting the importance of detection and treatment. Psychosocial screening has been shown to increase the accurate identification of psychosocial problems and facilitate timely psychosocial intervention. The objective of this article is to establish clinical guidelines for depression screening in youth diagnosed with IBD and to provide resources for implementation.

Methods: The psychosocial screening task force group constituted of psychologists and social workers in the ImproveCareNow (ICN) learning health system reviewed research and clinical guidelines in other fields, and consulted with physicians, nurses, other psychosocial professionals, patients with IBD, and parents of children with IBD in ICN.

Results/conclusions: It is recommended that adolescents with IBD ages 12 and older be screened for depression annually. Additional practical recommendations for implementation, triage, and treatment within the pediatric gastroenterology clinic are also provided.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Health Plan Implementation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / psychology*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Psychological Tests / standards*