Disordered Eating, Body Dissatisfaction, and Psychological Distress in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

J Clin Psychol Med Settings. 2020 Jun;27(2):310-317. doi: 10.1007/s10880-020-09710-y.


Little is known about eating attitudes and behaviors in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The aim of this study was to explore the extent of disordered eating behaviors in a sample of patients with IBD and the association between demographic and disease-related variables and disordered eating. One hundred nine adults completed questionnaires during an outpatient visit to an academic IBD center. Questionnaires included demographic and disease characteristics, the eating attitudes test (EAT-26), the Body Image Scale, and the Brief Symptom Inventory. On the EAT-26, 13% of patients met the screening cutoff whereby further evaluation for an eating disorder is recommended, and 81% of patients responded affirmatively to at least one item determined by study investigators to represent pathological eating attitudes. Elevated scores on the EAT-26 were associated with being female, underweight, having IBD diagnosed during childhood, psychological distress and body image disturbance. These findings indicate that many patients with IBD may struggle with maladaptive attitudes toward eating.

Keywords: Body image; Crohn's disease; Disordered eating; Eating attitudes; Inflammatory bowel disease; Ulcerative colitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Dissatisfaction*
  • Body Image* / psychology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / psychology
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychological Distress*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires