Background: Personalized medicine is becoming a widespread effort to provide the right
treatment to the right patient at the right time. However, it lacks of consideration for nonmedical factors,
such as patient preferences and psychosocial factors, which should not be avoided.
Objective and Methods: The present study summarizes the psychosocial difficulties experienced by
patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) during different phases of the disease in order to
identify methods to assess psychosocial risk factors and personalize treatment strategies. To reach this
goal, the quantitative literature is matched with the patients' perspective, offering a broad overview of
psychosocial risk factors that IBD patients experience.
Results: Quantitative results offer strong evidences for specific psychosocial risk factors in IBD and
for weak results of psychosocial interventions, but show a lack of individually tailored researches, instruments
and interventions, increasing the distance between the research findings and clinical practice.
At the same time, qualitative findings show important, though veiled information uncovered by
the quantitative research (e.g., identity recovery, fight for control, sexual concerns), which may be
used as a starting point for further explorations.
Conclusion: The present study suggests a need to adopt individualized therapeutic approach and deliver
psychological therapies while taking into account patients' experiences and preferences.