Symptoms of anxiety and depression are independently associated with inflammatory bowel disease-related disability

Webber Chan*, Hang Hock Shim, Miao Shan Lim, Fatimin Leila Bahjin Sawadjaan, Sangeetha Poongunam Isaac, Sai Wei Chuah, Rupert Leong, Chris Kong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) frequently results in disability. The relevance of psychological effects in causing disability, and whether disability occurs similarly in non-Western cohorts is as yet unknown. Aim: We assessed the relationship between symptoms of anxiety and depression, quality of life and disability in a Singaporean IBD cohort and their predictors. Methods: Cross-sectional study. We assessed consecutive IBD subjects’ IBD-Disability Index (IBD-DI), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and IBD questionnaire (IBDQ). Clinical and demographic variables were collected. Non-parametric statistical analyses were performed. Independent predictors of disability were identified through multivariate logistic regression. Results: 200 consecutive subjects were recruited (males: 69%; median age: 43.8 (±15.4) years; 95 had Crohn's disease (CD), 105 had ulcerative colitis (UC); median IBD duration: 10.8 (±9.0) years.) 27% of the cohort had anxiety and/or depression, which worsened disability (IBD-DI: −9 (±14) with anxiety vs 6 (±13) without anxiety, P < 0.001; −12 (±16) with depression vs 5 (±13) without depression, P < 0.001). Age at diagnosis, use of prednisolone, stricturing CD and active IBD were significant predictors of disability. IBDQ strongly correlated with IBD-DI(rs = 0.82, P < 0.01). Conclusion: Symptoms of anxiety and depression were common in this Asian cohort of IBD and were strongly associated with IBD-related disability. Recognizing psychological issues contributing to disability in IBD is important to ensure holistic care and appropriate treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1314-1319
Number of pages6
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Disability
  • Inflammatory bowel disease


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