Background and Objectives: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic, debilitating disorder occurring in young patients in the most productive period of their lives. Little is known about the effect on the developmental trajectory of adolescents growing up with IBD. The purpose of this study was to assess the psychosocial developmental trajectory (“course of life”) and sociodemographic outcomes in adolescents with IBD compared with peers from the general population.
Methods: A total of 62 adolescents (response rate 74%, boys 51.6%, mean age 18.6 years) completed the course of life questionnaire.
Results: Patients with IBD achieved fewer milestones on the domains of autonomy and social and psychosexual development compared with their healthy peers. They went less frequently on holidays without adults, had fewer jobs during secondary school, were less frequently going out to a bar/disco during secondary school, and were older when falling in love for the first time. After secondary school, patients with IBD were more often unemployed.
Conclusions: Negative consequences in terms of psychosocial development are prevalent in adolescents with IBD. Physicians should be attentive to these consequences and provide additional support if necessary. During transition to adult clinic, these topics are of major importance and should be an integral component of the comprehensive care of chronically ill adolescents and young adults.