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Inflammatory Bowel Diseases:
doi: 10.1002/ibd.20484
Original Clinical Articles

College adjustment in University of Michigan students with Crohn's and colitis

Adler, Jeremy MD1,*; Raju, Sheela MPH2; Beveridge, Allison S. BS4; Wang, Sijian PhD6; Zhu, Ji PhD5; Zimmermann, Ellen M. MD3

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Abstract

Background:: Adjustment to college is critical for academic success. Poor college adjustment correlates with poor academic performance, low graduation rates, and poor success later in life. Limited data are available on the effects of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) on college adjustment. We hypothesize that disease activity negatively impacts on QOL, and adversely affects college adjustment.

Methods:: Undergraduate students (6 Crohn's disease [CD], 12 ulcerative colitis [UC], 19 healthy controls) completed a standardized college adjustment survey (SACQ) and QOL instrument (SF‐12). Where appropriate, disease specific activity and QOL indices were obtained (HBI, SCCAI, SIBDQ).

Results:: There was an inverse correlation between disease activity and college adjustment in CD and UC (R = −0.6554, p = 0.0032). IBD students had lower physical QOL (SF‐12) than controls (p = 0.0009). Emotional domain of college adjustment correlated best with SIBDQ (R = 0.8228, p < 0.0001), and correlated better in CD (R = 0.8619) than UC (R = 0.7946). Mental QOL (SF‐12) was worse in CD than UC (p = 0.0211), but neither differed from controls (p = 0.4, p = 0.6).

Conclusions:: Students with active Crohn's and colitis adjust less well to college life. Physical and emotional factors likely contribute. More aggressive medical therapy and better emotional support before and during college may result in happier and healthier college students, leading to higher graduation rates and future success. Interventions resulting in better disease control and support systems may improve college performance and provide long‐term benefits to young adults with IBD.

© Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.

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