Objective: The determinants of health-related quality of life in inflammatory bowel disease are not completely understood. The present study aimed to assess two factors in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: a) whether health-related quality of life is independently associated with both bowel disease severity and psychological disorder, and b) whether Crohn's disease is associated with more marked psychological disorder than ulcerative colitis.
Methods: 116/170 (68%) consecutive patients with inflammatory bowel disease attending a GI clinic (37 patients with ulcerative colitis, 75 patients with Crohn's disease, and four unspecified) completed the following self-report questionnaires: demographic details, a modified disease activity index, a total severity measure, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Short Form-36.
Results: Thirty patients (25.9%) scored 11 or more on either the depression or anxiety subscales of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale indicating probable psychological disorder; 55% (47.4%) scored over 8 indicating possible psychological disorder. Stepwise multiple regression analyses showed that both psychological symptoms and disease severity or activity contributed independently to impaired health-related quality of life. After severity of disease was taken into account, there were no significant differences between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis in terms of depression scores and health-related quality of life.
Conclusions: The presence of psychological disorder in inflammatory bowel disease contributes to poor health-related quality of life, regardless of the severity of the condition. Detection and treatment of psychological disorder in inflammatory bowel disease carries the potential to improve health-related quality of life for these patients.