Effect of psychological therapy on disease activity, psychological comorbidity, and quality of life in inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review;Systematic Review)

BACKGROUND: Inflammatory bowel disease is associated with psychological comorbidity and impaired quality of life. Psychological comorbidity could affect the natural history of inflammatory bowel disease. Psychological therapies might therefore have beneficial effects on disease activity, mood, and quality of life in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. We did a systematic review and meta-analysis examining these issues. METHODS: In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched MEDLINE, Embase, Embase Classic, PsychINFO, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for articles published between 1947 and Sept 22, 2016. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) recruiting patients with inflammatory bowel disease aged at least 16 years that compared psychological therapy with a control intervention or usual treatment were eligible. We pooled dichotomous data to obtain relative risks of induction of remission in active disease or prevention of relapse of quiescent disease, with 95% CIs. We pooled continuous data to estimate standardised mean differences in disease activity indices, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and quality-of-life scores in patients dichotomised into those with clinically active or quiescent disease, with 95% CIs. We extracted data from published reports and contacted the original investigators of studies for which the required data were not available. We pooled all data using a random-effects model. FINDINGS: The search identified 1824 studies, with 14 RCTs of 1196 patients eligible for inclusion. The relative risk of relapse of quiescent inflammatory bowel disease with psychological therapy versus control was 0·98 (95% CI 0·77-1·24; p=0·87; I2=50%; six trials; 518 patients). We observed a significant difference in depression scores (standardised mean difference -0·17 [-0·33 to -0·01]; p=0·04; I2=0%; seven trials; 605 patients) and quality of life (0·30 [0·07-0·52]; p=0·01; I2=42%; nine trials; 578 patients) with psychological therapy versus control at the end of therapy for patients with quiescent disease. However, these beneficial effects were lost at final point of follow-up (depression scores -0·11 [-0·27 to 0·05], p=0·17, I2=0%, eight trials, 593 patients; quality of life 0·15 [-0·05 to 0·34], p=0·14, I2=22%, ten trials, 577 patients). When we assessed the effect of individual physiological therapies on quality of life, only cognitive behavioural therapy had any significant beneficial effect (0·37 [0·02-0·72]). We noted no effect on disease activity indices or other psychological wellbeing scores when compared with control in patients with quiescent disease. Dichotomous data for induction of remission and continuous data for change in clinical disease activity indices, depression, anxiety, and perceived stress scores were only reported in one RCT of patients with active disease. Quality of life was assessed in two RCTs of patients with active disease, but was not significantly different between intervention and control groups (0·27 [-0·05 to 0·59]). INTERPRETATION: Psychological therapies, and cognitive behavioural therapy in particular, might have small short-term beneficial effects on depression scores and quality of life in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Further RCTs of these interventions in patients with coexistent psychological distress are required. FUNDING: None.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gracie, DJ; Irvine, AJ; Sood, R; Mikocka-Walus, A; Hamlin, PJ; Ford, AC

Published Date

  • March 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 189 - 199

PubMed ID

  • 28404134

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2468-1253

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/S2468-1253(16)30206-0


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands