The effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions in inflammatory bowel disease: A Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis

J Psychosom Res. 2023 Jun;169:111232. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2023.111232.Epub 2023 Mar 14.


Colette Naude 1David Skvarc 2Simon Knowles 3Lahiru Russell 4Subhadra Evans 2Antonina Mikocka-Walus 2


Author information

1School of Psychology, Deakin University Geelong, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Electronic address: naudec@deakin.edu.au.

2School of Psychology, Deakin University Geelong, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

3Department of Psychology, Swinburne University of Technology, VIC, Australia.

4Faculty of Health, Institute for Health Transformation, Deakin University Geelong, Melbourne, Australia.


Background: Mental health has been identified as contributing to the pathogenesis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Resultingly, psychotherapeutic interventions, such as Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBI), have been increasingly investigated for improving IBD outcomes.

Objectives: To systematically review the current state of evidence of MBI's for individuals living with IBD.

Methods: We performed a systematic review searching Medline, PsychINFO, CINAHL, Embase, Cochrane and Scopus, to identify controlled clinical trials, investigating MBI's for various IBD biopsychosocial outcomes. Data was pooled using the inverse-variance random effects model, with restricted maximum likelihood estimation, providing the standardized mean difference (SMD) between control and experimental groups, at both short and long-term follow up.

Results: We identified 8 studies with 575 participants. Meta-analytic results found that MBI's were more efficacious than control groups in the short-term improvement of stress (SMD = -0.38, 95% CI [-0.65, -0.10], p = 0.007), mindfulness (SMD = 0.59, 95% CI [0.36, 0.83], p = 0.00001), C-Reactive Protein (CRP) (SMD = -0.25, 95% CI [-0.49, -0.01], p = 0.04) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) (SMD = 0.45, 95% CI [0.24, 0.66], p = 0.0001) (including all emotional, bowel, social and systemic subscales). This was maintained in the long-term for stress (SMD = -0.44, 95% CI [-0.88, -0.01], p < 0.05) and mindfulness (SMD = 0.52, 95% CI [0.14, 0.90], p = 0.008), but not for HRQoL, with no long-term data available for CRP.

Conclusions: Given that MBI's appear to be effective in improving several IBD outcomes, they may be a useful adjuvant therapy in wholistic IBD care, with further trials warranted.



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