Does a Coeliac School increase psychological well-being in women suffering from coeliac disease, living on a gluten-free diet?

J Clin Nurs. 2012 Mar;21(5-6):766-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03953.x. Epub 2011 Nov 1.


Aim and objective: To assess the effects of an active method of patient education on the psychological well-being of women with coeliac disease in remission.

Background: Despite remission with a gluten-free diet, adults with coeliac disease and especially women experience a subjective poor health. Self-management education seems to be promising tool to help patients suffering from coeliac disease to cope with their disorder.

Design: A randomised controlled trial.

Methods: A total of 106 women, ≥ 20 years, with confirmed coeliac disease, who had been on a gluten-free diet for a minimum of five years. The intervention group (n = 54) underwent a 10-session educational programme, 'Coeliac School', based on problem-based learning. The controls (n = 52) received information regarding coeliac disease sent home on a regular basis. The primary outcomes were psychological general well-being measured with a validated questionnaire.

Results: Participants in the Coeliac School reported a significant improvement in psychological well-being at 10 weeks, whereas the controls given usual care reported a worsening in psychological well-being. After six months, a significant improvement remained for the index of vitality.

Conclusions: Patient education increased psychological well-being in women with coeliac disease. There is a need to refine the methods of patient education to make the effects of well-being more pronounced over time.

Relevance to clinical practice: Patient education using problem-based learning promotes self-management in coeliac disease by improving the well-being of patients who have been struggling with the gluten-free diet for years.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy*
  • Celiac Disease / psychology*
  • Diet, Gluten-Free*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Psychology
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Women's Health*
  • Young Adult