Objectives: To summarize the existing data on abuse history and gastrointestinal illness, suggest a conceptual scheme to explain these associations, suggest ways to identify patients at risk, and provide information about mental health referral.
Data Sources: Review of the pertinent literature by clinicians and investigators at referral centers who are involved in the care of patients with complex gastrointestinal illness and who have experience in the diagnosis and care of patients with abuse history in these settings.
Study Selection: All research articles and observational data that addressed abuse history in gastroenterologic settings. Articles were identified through a MEDLINE search.
Data Extraction: Independent extraction by multiple observers.
Data Synthesis: On the basis of literature review and consensus, it was determined that abuse history is associated with gastrointestinal illness and psychological disturbance; appears more often among women, patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders, and patients seen in referral settings; is not usually known by the physician; and is associated with poorer adjustment to illness and adverse health outcome.