Anxiety and depression in adult untreated celiac subjects and in patients affected by inflammatory bowel disease: a personality "trait" or a reactive illness?

Hepatogastroenterology. Nov-Dec 1996;43(12):1513-7.


Background/aims: Psychiatric illness and psychological behavioral pathologies may be present in celiac disease and in IBD patients. In these subjects anxiety and depression could be a main cause in the reduction of the compliance to the treatment. Aim of our study was to carry out a psychometric evaluation using appropriate means to determine the level of anxiety and depression and to distinguish between "state" and "trait" forms. The correction of such disturbances would improve the quality of life and the patients' compliance to treatment.

Material and methods: Sixteen adult celiac patients, 16 subjects affected by IBD and 16 healthy control subjects matched for sex, residence and marital status were studied by psychological assessment. All the subjects were given the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Ipat Depression Scale Questionnaire.

Results: State anxiety was present in a higher percentage of celiac subjects and in the patients affected by IBD with respect to the healthy controls. Anxiety as a trait was present in a similar percentage in all the subjects evaluated. Depressive syndrome was present in a percentage of celiac patients statistically superior versus the healthy control group (p < 0.01).

Conclusion: Our results shown that anxiety is present as a "reactive" form and personality trait anxiety has no effect in celiac and IBD patients. As regard depression, our data confirm a possible linkage between brain functions and malabsorption.

MeSH terms

  • Adjustment Disorders*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / complications*
  • Celiac Disease / psychology*
  • Depression / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychological Tests