Background and aims: Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have impaired health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Managing HRQOL is increasingly becoming an important treatment consideration in IBD. Understanding factors that impact HRQOL may facilitate interventions to improve HRQOL and overall IBD management. We hypothesized that psychosocial variables, namely perceived stress, perceived social support, and knowledge, would be associated with HRQOL among individuals with IBD.
Methods: A total of 134 adults with IBD were recruited online from IBD support groups. HRQOL was measured using the inflammatory bowel disease questionnaire (IBDQ). Perceived stress, perceived social support, and knowledge of IBD were measured using standardized questionnaires. Clinical and demographic variables were gathered through a 16-item study questionnaire. Univariate analyses were conducted to determine which variables were associated with HRQOL, and those that were statistically significant were entered into a multivariate regression model.
Results: Results from univariate analyses revealed significantly lower HRQOL in individuals who: reported higher perceived stress, higher number of previous hospitalizations and relapses, lower perceived support, lower income, were unemployed, and were female. Multivariate analyses revealed that the variables most strongly associated with HRQOL were perceived stress (p < 0.001), number of previous IBD relapses (p < 0.001), gender (p < 0.001), and perceived social support (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Individuals with IBD who report higher perceived stress, lower perceived social support, greater number of relapses, or are female may be at increased risk for decreased HRQOL. Prospective studies should investigate how interventions addressing these factors may lead to improved HRQOL.