Twenty families who had children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and 20 comparison families with healthy children were studied concerning parental distress and social interaction. The mothers in the IBD group scored very high on parental distress, whereas the fathers did not differ from the comparison group. Both parents in the IBD group reported significantly lower scores on a social support scale. The dimension of social integration was normal, but deeper relations and attachment were negatively affected among parents in the IBD group. The mental health of the children with IBD correlated with the social support, especially the qualitative aspects.