Psychogastroenterology: A Cure, Band-Aid, or Prevention?

Children (Basel). 2020 Sep 3;7(9):121. doi: 10.3390/children7090121.

Miranda A L van Tilburg 1 2 3


Author information

  • 1Department of Clinical Research, College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC 27506, USA.
  • 2Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA.
  • 3School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98105, USA.


Psychogastroenterology is a field that focuses on the brain-gut connection. Many children with gut disorders also struggle with psychological and social factors that affect their disease outcomes. Psychological factors have been suggested to be a cure, a band-aid, or a prevention. This article examines the underlying models of disease and health that determine how we understand and treat psychosocial factors in gut diseases. The biomedical and biopsychosocial models are presented and applied to pediatric gut disorders. This article should familiarize clinicians as well as children and their families to the challenges and opportunities for addressing psychosocial factors in gut disease. Psychogastroenterology is best thought of as a cog in a complex treatment machine.

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