Social Implications of Childhood Crohn's Disease

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Children with Crohn's disease may have an impaired quality of life.


A validated questionnaire was mailed to the parents of all child members of Crohn's in Childhood Research Association (CICRA) (age range, 5-17 years). It investigated aspects of the quality of life of children with Crohn's disease. Sixty-four questionnaires were returned together with another 35 from those outside the defined age range. Patients in the latter group were not included in the analysis.


Of the children investigated, 60% had significant absences from school, with a mean of 3 ± 2.8 months' absence in the previous year. Most (53%) thought that their teachers knew nothing about Crohn's disease, and 50% thought that teachers were unsympathetic. Of the 24 who had taken examinations 80% thought they had underachieved because of ill health. Sixty-seven percent of children were unable to participate in sports on a regular basis, 60% felt unable to leave the house, and 50% were unable to play with their friends. Information about Crohn's disease had predominantly come from doctors (89%), information booklets (83%), and nursing staff (42%). The commonest questions asked by the children were: what is Crohn's disease (50%), why me (64%), will it affect my schooling (52%), and will it affect my chances of getting a job (67%).


Children with Crohn's disease have a significantly impaired quality of life. They fear everyday childhood activities and fear for their future. These children need sympathetic management, and effort should be concentrated on improving their day-to-day existence to enable them to lead as normal a life as possible.

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