Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: What Differences in Mentalization Abilities? A Scoping Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Nov 30;20(23):7125.doi: 10.3390/ijerph20237125.


Agata Benfante 1Fabio Cisarò 2Davide Giuseppe Ribaldone 3 4Lorys Castelli 1Nikolas Sandroni 1Annunziata Romeo 1


Author information

1Department of Psychology, University of Turin, 10124 Turin, Italy.

2Division of Digestive Endoscopy, Città della Salute e della Scienza University-Hospital, 10126 Turin, Italy.

3Division of Gastroenterology, Città della Salute e della Scienza University-Hospital, 10126 Turin, Italy.

4Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, 10126 Turin, Italy.


Mentalization is a psychological process that enables individuals to understand the self and others in terms of intentional mental states. The aim of this scoping review was to provide an overview of the findings on mentalization in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A literature search, in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Protocols extension for Scoping Review guidelines, was conducted in the following bibliographic databases: PubMed, PsycINFO, and Scopus. Databases were queried using the following strings (with Boolean operators): ("mentaliz*" OR "metacogniti*" OR "theory of mind" OR "ToM" OR "reflective function*") AND ("irritable bowel syndrome" OR "IBS" OR "inflammatory bowel disease" OR "IBD"). In line with the eligibility criteria, seven articles were included. Results showed that no significant differences in metacognitive ability were found between patients in the IBD and IBS groups. This review revealed the mentalizing difficulties for patients with IBD and IBS. These results should be interpreted with caution since they are based on a few studies that used different instruments to assess mentalizing processes. Future studies are needed to clarify the role of mentalization in patients with these gastrointestinal conditions.

© Copyright 2013-2024 GI Health Foundation. All rights reserved.
This site is maintained as an educational resource for US healthcare providers only. Use of this website is governed by the GIHF terms of use and privacy statement.