DOI: 10.3390/ijerph20237125 ISSN: 1660-4601

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

Agata Benfante, Fabio Cisarò, Davide Giuseppe Ribaldone, Lorys Castelli, Nikolas Sandroni, Annunziata Romeo
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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.

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