The Impact of a 1-Week Residential Program on Anxiety in Adolescents With Incontinence: A Quasi-experimental Study

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To determine the effect of a 1-week residential program on anxiety in adolescents with bowel and/or bladder dysfunction.


Participants were 89 adolescents (mean age = 14.56 years, range 11–18 years) attending a 1-week residential program for individuals with bowel and/or bladder dysfunction. The program is both educational and social in nature and is held at 1 of 3 rotating university campuses.


A quasi-experimental study design that included 3 administrations of the Multi-dimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC) was employed for data collection. The MASC was administered immediately before the program, immediately after the program, and 2 to 4 months after conclusion of the program.


The 1-week program includes structured and unstructured sessions facilitated by young adults with these conditions and/or WOC nurses. Topics are physiological and psychological in nature, focusing on strategies for home, school, and medical settings. There are also social activities designed to facilitate development of social relationships among peers.


A positive, statistically significant impact on total MASC scores was found (F1.679, 80.587 = 3.587; P = .404) as well as on the Social Anxiety scale (F2,96 = 5.299; P = .007) and its 2 subscales, Humiliation/Rejection Fears (F2,96 = 3.876; P = .024) and Performance Fears (F2,96 = 6.453; P = .002).


This 1-week residential summer program was found to exert a positive impact on anxiety symptoms, particularly social anxiety, and benefits persisted for 2 to 4 months. This suggests the psychological benefits of even relatively brief experiences for individuals with bowel and/or bladder dysfunction.

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