Measuring psychological well-being and quality of life in children with inflammatory bowel disease
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BACKGROUND: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a collective term that refers to chronic inflammatory diseases involving the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The most common forms of IBD include Crohn’s Disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). GOALS: The goal of this study is to compare baseline and one-year follow-up measures of anxiety, depression, and quality of life in children with newly diagnosed IBD. A secondary goal of this study is to determine if there are parallel changes in the psychologic parameters in the parents of these children over a similar one-year interval. METHODS: This prospective cohort study was conducted in the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). The parents and children with newly diagnosed IBD completed validated questionnaires about their disease at baseline (within six months of their diagnosis) and then again 12-18 months later. RESULTS: Baseline data were collected from 75 patients with IBD, and 15 of these patient/parent dyads have completed follow-up questionnaires. The incidence of anxiety and depression trended downwards after the first year, and overall quality of life trended upwards, indicating an improvement in a global state of adjustment. Measures of anxiety and depression, as well as the reported frequency and difficulty of adverse events, all decreased in parental responses after the first year. CONCLUSION: While a larger sample size is necessary to better assess changes in psychometrics over time, existing data suggests that parents manifest the most significant change in anxiety and depression over the course of the first year from diagnosis. Children appear to be less anxious and depressed at baseline. Further enrollment and data collection will permit a more definitive assessment of the relationship between patient and parent coping strategies. Ideally, the results of this ongoing study will determine if impaired parental coping lowers a patient’s quality of life, contributes to higher childhood anxiety and depression scores, and results in higher healthcare utilization.