Newly Diagnosed Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: The Relationship Between Perceived Psychological Support, Health-Related Quality of Life, and Disease Activity

Health Equity. 2021 Feb 2;5(1):42-48. doi: 10.1089/heq.2020.0053. eCollection 2021.

Kristy Engel 1, Maher Homsi 2, Rie Suzuki 1, Karla Helvie 3, Jeremy Adler 4, Caitlyn Plonka 3, Ellen Zimmermann 2 3


Author information

  • 1Department of Public Health and Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, Michigan, USA.
  • 2Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Michigan Medical School, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
  • 4Division of Pediatrics Gastroenterology, Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.


Background: Newly diagnosed patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) encounter many physical, mental, and social uncertainties. In other chronic diseases, patients having access to disease-specific information and psychological support adhere better to medical regimens. Currently, there is a paucity of data on how newly diagnosed patients with IBD interact with their medical providers. Methods: Patients diagnosed with IBD within 5 years completed a series of questionnaires related to heath-related quality of life (HRQoL), disease activity, health education resources, medical provider relationship, and psychological support. Results: A total of 89 patients were included in the study. IBD activity correlated with disease-specific quality of life (r=-0.69, p<0.0001). Patient satisfaction with gastroenterologist interaction correlated with HRQoL (r=0.33, p=0.04) and disease activity for Crohn's disease (CD) patients (Harvey Bradshaw Index, r=-0.52, p<0.001). Eleven percent of recently diagnosed patients reported receiving educational or psychological support as part of their treatment program, whereas 42% of patients believed that they would benefit from having these types of support incorporated in their treatment protocol. Discussion: In patients with newly diagnosed CD, the patients' perceived relationship with their medical provider was closely related to both HRQoL and disease activity. More attention to education, support, and the doctor-patient relationship at diagnosis could result in better patient outcomes.

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