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Psychosocial Developmental Trajectory of Adolescents With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Hummel, Thalia Z.*; Tak, Eline*; Maurice-Stam, Heleen; Benninga, Marc A.*; Kindermann, Angelika*; Grootenhuis, Martha A.

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: August 2013 - Volume 57 - Issue 2 - p 219–224
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182935474
Original Articles: Gastroenterology

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.

*Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition

Pediatric Psychosocial Department, Emma Children's Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Thalia Hummel, MD, Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Emma Children's Hospital/Academic Medical Center, Meibergdreef 9, 1100 DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands (e-mail:

Received 29 October, 2012

Accepted 20 March, 2013

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,