Background: Surveillance for colorectal neoplasia in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is widely practised despite a lack of convincing mortality reduction. The psychological impact of this approach is largely unexplored. Aim: To examine psychological well-being among IBD subjects undergoing colonoscopic surveillance for colorectal cancer (CRC). Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed by interrogating an IBD database for subjects currently enrolled in colonoscopic surveillance programmes. Identified surveillance subjects were age- and gender-matched with IBD control subjects not meeting surveillance criteria. Subjects were mailed a questionnaire including demographic details, the Short Form 36 (SF-36) survey to assess quality of life, the Spielberger State-Trait Personality Inventory, the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control, and a Risk Perception Questionnaire. Results: One hundred and thirty-nine of 286 (49%) subjects responded, 53% male, 46% Crohn disease. Fifty-six per cent respondents were in the surveillance group. Surveillance subjects were older (55.4 vs 51.1 years; P = 048) with longer disease duration, but otherwise had comparable demographics with controls. Overall, quality of life was not significantly different between cohorts (mean SF-36 63.82 vs 65.48; P = 0.70). Groups did not differ on any locus of control classification (P = 0.52), nor was there any difference between mean scores on 'state' subscales of the Spielberger State-Trait Personality Inventory: anxiety (P = 0.91), curiosity (P = 0.12), anger (P = 0.81) or depression (P = 0.70). Both groups grossly overestimated their perceived lifetime risk of CRC at 50%, with no difference between surveillance and control subjects (P = 1.0). Conclusions: Enrolment in colonoscopic colon cancer surveillance does not appear to impair psychological well-being in individuals with IBD despite longer disease duration. IBD patients overestimate their risk of CRC.