Published online Jul 28, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i28.6402
Peer-review started: March 27, 2016
First decision: May 12, 2016
Revised: May 26, 2016
Accepted: June 15, 2016
Article in press: June 15, 2016
Published online: July 28, 2016
Core tip: The complex nature of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) requires a multidisciplinary approach from different fields of scientific knowledge. This review examines the contribution of personality traits and emotional patterns to pathophysiology, clinical expression, and outcome of IBS. Several personality traits and constructs, such as neuroticism, conscientiousness, and alexithymia, are closely associated with IBS. Negative emotions, which are probably more entangled with neurobiological substrates, seem to have a key role in the brain-gut axis dysfunction which characterizes IBS. Based on the reviewed evidence, effective treatments for IBS should also address personality traits and emotions to improve outcomes in IBS patients.