Background: Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are associated with reduced health-related quality of life (HRQoL). We aimed to identify factors that influence patients HRQoL by exploring the role of optimism, social support and coping strategies in contributing to patients' HRQoL. We focused on patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) after pouch surgery representing a distinct population which is followed up in a dedicated referral clinic.
Methods: Patients were recruited at the Comprehensive Pouch Clinic and completed six questionnaires: demographics, HRQoL (IBDQ), dispositional optimism (revised Life Orientation Test, LOT-R), social support inventory (ENRICHD), Coping strategies (brief COPE), and illness acceptance (DDAQ). Pouch behavior was determined clinically and defined as normal pouch (NP) or pouchitis.
Results: A total of 151 pouch patients were recruited: 75 (50%) females, average age 47.91±15.51 years, average age of UC diagnosis 27.11±13.53 years, mean time since pouch surgery 10.03±8.09 years. At the time of recruitment 48 (32%) had NP. Women had lower HRQoL than man (p=0.04), education level was correlated with HRQoL (r=0.27, p=0.001), age at diagnosis was negatively correlated to HRQoL (r=−0.19, p=0.02).
Optimism was associated with higher HRQoL (R=0.40. p<0.001). Pessimism was associated to older age at diagnosis (r=0.23, p=0.01) and to lower education level (r=−0.20, p=0.02). Optimists and pessimists differed in the manner they cope with disease – optimists used more positive reframing and tended to find alternative meaningful activities, while pessimists tended to use self-blame, behavioral and mental disengagement. Furthermore, optimists reported better social support (r=0.29, p=0.00).
Social support was also associated with higher HRQoL (R=0.40. p<0.001). Patients with pouchitis had lower HRQoL and social support (all p<0.01 compared to NP) but did not differ in the level of optimism.
Predictors of HRQoL in the multivariate Hierarchical Regression analysis were gender (β=−0.12; p<0.05), educational level (β=0.22; p<0.001), social support (β=0.12; p<0.05) and coping strategies: behavioral disengagement (β=−0.19; p=0.05), mental disengagement (β=−0.22; p<0.001), activities engagement (β=0.29; p<0.001), and symptom tolerance (β=0.19; p=0.05).
Conclusions: Factors affecting HRQoL levels in UC pouch patients are Gender, education level, age at disease diagnosis and pouch behavior. Dispositional optimism, social support and coping strategies play significant role in patients HRQoL.