Knowledge, quality of life, and use of complementary and alternative medicine and therapies in inflammatory bowel disease: a comparison of Chinese and Caucasian patients

Dig Dis Sci. 2004 Oct;49(10):1672-6. doi: 10.1023/b:ddas.0000043384.26092.f4.


Inflammatory bowel disease is rare in the Chinese population, which may result in limited support, misinformation, and unalleviated fears and adversely affect quality of life (QOL). This study compared the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)-related knowledge, QOL, and use of complementary and alternative medicines and therapies (CAMT) in two contrasting IBD populations. Chinese and Caucasian IBD patients completed a questionnaire on IBD knowledge and CAMT usage. QOL was evaluated using the validated Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire. One hundred sixty-two IBD patients were recruited, 81 Chinese and 81 Caucasian. The IBD knowledge score was higher in Caucasian than in Chinese IBD patients (median difference, 6.5; P = 0.001) and was independent of education and occupation. Twenty-one-percent of Chinese subjects incorrectly identified their IBD type (0% in the Caucasian group; P < 0.001). QOL was higher in the Chinese than the Caucasian group, but not significantly different after adjusting for disease activity. QOL was unassociated with IBD knowledge. The overall use of CAMT was similar in both groups (33% of Chinese and 37% of Caucasian patients) and similar for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD-related knowledge was inferior in Chinese compared to Caucasian IBD patients. Health-related QOL is unlikely to be greatly influenced by disease-related knowledge or education. A high proportion of Chinese and Caucasian IBD patients uses CAMT.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Western Australia