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Parenting stress predicts depressive symptoms in adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease

Guilfoyle, Shanna M.a; Gray, Wendy N.b; Herzer-Maddux, Michelec; Hommel, Kevin A.a

European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: September 2014 - Volume 26 - Issue 9 - p 964–971
doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000000149
Original Articles: Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Objectives Adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at an increased risk for depression and poor IBD management. Although depression and family factors have been associated in cross-sectional analyses, their casual association over time has not been studied. The primary objective of this study was to assess the temporal association between parenting stress and adolescent depressive symptoms in IBD.

Methods Along with a primary parent, adolescents [M age(years) =15.5±1.4] with a confirmed diagnosis of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis and prescribed a treatment regimen of a 5-ASA medication and/or 6-MP/azathioprine were recruited from routine gastroenterology clinic visits at two pediatric medical centers. The current study was nested in a larger IBD self-management trial. Adolescents completed the Children’s Depression Inventory. Parents completed a sociodemographic questionnaire and the Pediatric Inventory for Parents. Gastroenterologists provided disease severity assessments on the basis of the clinic appointment corresponding to the study visit or the most recent clinic appointment. Questionnaires were readministered ∼6 months after the initial visit.

Results Participants include 93 families at baseline and 65 at follow-up (69.8% retention; N=65). A cross-lagged panel analysis was used to detect causal directionality and change in adolescent depression and parenting stress over 6 months. Baseline parenting stress accounted for a significant amount of the variance in depressive symptoms at follow-up [R-change=0.03, F(1,58)=35.6, P<0.05].

Conclusion Parenting stress impacts adolescent depressive symptoms in IBD. Identification of parenting stress and adolescent depression should occur early and possibly in the context of routine clinic visits.

aCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Division of Behavioral Medicine & Clinical Psychology, Cincinnati, Ohio

bDepartment of Psychology, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

cChildren’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics, Division of Clinical Psychology, Developmental & Behavioral Medicine, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Correspondence to Shanna M. Guilfoyle, PhD, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Division of Behavioral Medicine & Clinical Psychology, 3333 Burnet Ave. MLC 3015, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA Tel: +1 513 636 8757; fax: +1 513 636 7756; e-mail:

Received March 27, 2014

Accepted May 29, 2014

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins