Effectiveness of disease-specific cognitive-behavioural therapy on depression, anxiety, quality of life and the clinical course of disease in adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease: study protocol of a multicentre randomised controlled trial (HAPPY-IBD)

Gertrude van den Brink, Luuk Stapersma, Hanan El Marroun, Jens Henrichs, Eva M Szigethy, Elisabeth Mwj Utens, Johanna C Escher

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INTRODUCTION: Adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) show a higher prevalence of depression and anxiety, compared to youth with other chronic diseases. The inflammation-depression hypothesis might explain this association, and implies that treating depression can decrease intestinal inflammation and improve disease course. The present multicentre randomised controlled trial aims to test the effectiveness of an IBD-specific cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) protocol in reducing symptoms of subclinical depression and anxiety, while improving quality of life and disease course in adolescents with IBD.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Adolescents with IBD (10-20 years) from 7 hospitals undergo screening (online questionnaires) for symptoms of depression and anxiety. Those with elevated scores of depression (Child Depression Inventory (CDI) ≥13 or Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) II ≥14) and/or anxiety (Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders: boys ≥26, girls ≥30) receive a psychiatric interview. Patients meeting criteria for depressive/anxiety disorders are referred for psychotherapy outside the trial. Patients with elevated (subclinical) symptoms are randomly assigned to medical care-as-usual (CAU; n=50) or CAU plus IBD-specific CBT (n=50).

MAIN OUTCOMES: (1) reduction in depressive and/or anxiety symptoms after 3 months and (2) sustained remission for 12 months.

SECONDARY OUTCOMES: quality of life, psychosocial functioning, treatment adherence. In addition, we will assess inflammatory cytokines in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and whole blood RNA expression profiles. For analysis, multilevel linear models and generalised estimating equations will be used.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The Medical Ethics Committee of the Erasmus MC approved this study. If we prove that this CBT improves emotional well-being as well as disease course, implementation is recommended.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e000071
JournalBMJ open gastroenterology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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