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Quality of Life and Level of Anxiety in Youths With Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Ireland

Kilroy, Sarah*; Nolan, Elizabeth; Sarma, Kiran M.

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: September 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 3 - p 275–279
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e318214c131
Original Articles: Gastroenterology

Objective: Little is known of the psychological well-being of youths diagnosed as having inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). Much of the literature available focuses on adults with IBD and those that focus on youths tend to use generic measures of health-related quality of life (QOL). The primary aim of this research is to obtain a profile of the IBD-related QOL and levels of anxiety of youths of ages 9 to 17 years presenting with IBD to a national hospital. It is also intended to examine the clinical utility of the IMPACT-III questionnaire.

Patients and Methods: A questionnaire battery containing the IMPACT-III questionnaire and the Spence Children's Anxiety Scale (SCAS) was posted to all of the patients on the database of the gastrointestinal clinic between the ages of 9 and 17 years (n = 215), resulting in an achieved sample size of 79 (response rate of 36.7%).

Results: It was found that 63% (n = 50) of participants had total IMPACT-III scores below the cutoff of 143, previously established for remission. In addition, 5 participants reported being unhappy with their lives. Thirty-nine percent (n = 31) of participants had elevated anxiety symptoms on ≥1 of the SCAS subscales. Anxiety level was found to be a significant predictor of QOL (β = −0.616, P = 0.001). Qualitative feedback highlighted the variability of physical and psychological symptoms participants experience, feelings of anger or embarrassment around the condition, and posed numerous questions, indicating that there is a lack of knowledge among patients around IBD.

Conclusions: These findings support the utility of screening patients with IBD for psychological difficulties and estimates of QOL. Further research and group interventions are recommended.

*National University of Ireland Galway

Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin

National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Sarah Kilroy, MSc, Psychologist in Clinical Training, Clinical Doctorate Programme, 2nd Floor, Woodquay Court, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland (e-mail:

Received 2 November, 2010

Accepted 27 January, 2011

Funding for the study was provided by the Gastroenterology Department of the National Hospital to facilitate the postal survey.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2011 by ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN