Quality of life for patients with exacerbation in inflammatory bowel disease and how they cope with disease activity

J Psychosom Res. 2008 Feb;64(2):139-48. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2007.10.007.


Objective: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) for patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn's disease (CD) is influenced by symptoms and treatments. Periods with increased disease activity are specifically trying, but the knowledge of how patients manage this is sparse. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine (1) HRQoL for patients with UC or CD, (2) how patients cope with increased disease activity, and (3) if coping is associated with HRQoL.

Methods: A postal questionnaire was sent to patients with UC and CD who attended the gastroenterology and surgery department at a Swedish university hospital. Coping, HRQoL, and emotional well-being were assessed by Jalowiec Coping Scale, Short Form-36 Health survey, Short Health Scale, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

Results: Patients with increased disease activity reported impaired HRQoL and emotional distress. This was more prevalent among patients with CD, as compared to patients with UC. Optimistic, self-reliant and confrontive coping strategies were most frequently used to manage stressors, with no differences found between patients in exacerbation or remission or between patients with UC or CD.

Conclusion: Impaired HRQoL and emotional distress is prevalent among patients with exacerbation in UC and CD. Thus, a complete evaluation of psychosocial status and management of psychosocial distress should be included in the clinical treatment of the patient. Patients use a variety of coping strategies in an effort to manage increased disease activity. However, these results did not support any associations between coping and HRQoL.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Crohn Disease / physiopathology
  • Crohn Disease / psychology
  • Demography
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires