Psychological comorbidities and psychosocial challenges are prevalent among children and adolescents with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). However, a comprehensive review of the availability and effectiveness of psychological treatments for pediatric IBD patients is lacking. This systematic review aimed to determine the availability and efficacy of psychological interventions for children and adolescents with IBD. The systematic review was conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines and performed using two electronic databases, PsycINFO and PubMed, from inception until March 2022. Databases were searched for English-language, controlled trials of psychological interventions for children and adolescents with IBD. Outcomes of interest included: depression, anxiety, health-related quality of life, physical/somatic symptoms, and disease activity/severity. Of 478 identified articles, 11 articles reporting on seven original intervention studies met inclusion criteria. All interventions were cognitive-behavioral in nature and drew from principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Clinical and methodological diversity was observed across trials. Majority of trials included small sample sizes and were underpowered, with four recruiting fewer than 50 participants. Some benefits were reported in improving treatment outcomes, although findings were inconsistent. Despite an established evidence-base for psychological interventions in other pediatric chronic illness populations, evidence of efficacy for children and adolescents with IBD was limited. Interventions tested in methodologically robust trials are needed to enhance the provision of psychological treatments for pediatric IBD patients.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Inflammatory bowel diseases; Operant behavior; Pediatrics

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Judy Ho