16 Gastrointestinal Diseases

Health Psychology


  1. Laurie Keefer PhD1,
  2. Tiffany H. Taft PsyD2,
  3. Jennifer L. Kiebles PhD2

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop209016

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Keefer, L., Taft, T. H. and Kiebles, J. L. 2012. Gastrointestinal Diseases. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 9:III:16.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Northwestern University, Departments of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Behavioral Sciences, Chicago, Illinois, USA

  2. 2

    Northwestern University, Department of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


This chapter focuses on chronic gastrointestinal disorders and places particular emphasis on that which is most relevant to health psychologists. The past decade has realized several advances in the understanding of the etiology and maintenance of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is now framed around an empirically supported biopsychosocial model, first laid out in a presidential address to the American Gastroenterological Association in 1998 (Drossman 1998; Drossman et al. 1999) and gradually adopted over the next several years (Halpert & Drossman 2005; Levy et al. 2006). In the 2001 version of this chapter, the conceptualization of gastrointestinal syndromes remained in the psychosomatic realm, thereby emphasizing the contributions of psychopathology, child abuse, and stress to the development and expression of IBS. While each of these areas has a role in the current conceptual model of IBS, they are much less central than previously thought. Advances in cognitive neuroscience have described specific cognitive-affective processes that affect pain and gastrointestinal motility; these have informed psychological treatment. Finally, advances in IBS research have led to increased understanding of the psychological aspects of other gastrointestinal conditions, particularly esophageal disorders and inflammatory bowel diseases.


  • gastrointestinal;
  • irritable bowel;
  • esophageal disorders;
  • inflammatory bowel diseases;
  • psychosocial