Coping with Stress in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Its Relationship with Disease Activity, Psychological Disorders, and Quality of Life

Medical Students’ Research Center, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Medical Students’ Research Center, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences AND Gastrointestinal Disease Research Centre, Poursina Hakim Research Institute, Isfahan, Iran

Medical Students’ Research Center, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Medical Students’ Research Center, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Gastrointestinal Disease Research Centre, Poursina Hakim Research Institute, Isfahan, Iran

Department of Internal Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences AND Gastrointestinal Disease Research Centre, Poursina Hakim Research Institute, Isfahan, Iran


Background: Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are chronic diseases with significant impact on patients’ well-being. The aim of this study was to determine stress coping strategies in IBD patients and their association with disease activity, psychological health, and quality of life (QOL).

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on IBD patients referred to a gastroenterology clinic in Isfahan city (Iran). Disease activity, severity of anxiety and depression symptoms, stress coping strategies, and QOL were assessed using self-administered questionnaires. Coping strategies in IBD patients were compared to an unaffected control group.

Results: In the present study, 80 patients with mean age of 52.9 years (57.5% female) and mean disease duration of 6.5 years were studied. Compared to the controls, IBD patients had higher scores in the maladaptive coping styles (evasive and palliative) (P < 0.05). Association between coping strategies and disease activity was not significant. Severity of anxiety and depression was directly correlated with the maladaptive strategies (fatalistic and emotional) (r = 0.283 to 0.468) and inversely correlated with the adaptive strategies (confrontive, optimistic, and self-reliant) (r = -0.320 to -0.534). In addition, QOL was inversely correlated with the maladaptive strategies (fatalistic and emotional) (r = -0.278 to -0.327) and directly correlated with the adaptive strategies (confrontive and optimistic) (r = 0.262 to 0.355).

Conclusion: Patients with IBD use more maladaptive and less adaptive stress coping strategies which are associated with their psychological health and QOL. Larger and prospective studies on the dynamic and interactive network of biopsychosocial factors in IBD patients are required.


  • Anxiety
  • Crohn'
  • s disease
  • Depression
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Quality of life
  • Stress
  • Ulcerative colitis

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