Coping Behaviors of African Americans With Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Focused Ethnography

J Transcult Nurs. 2021 Sep;32(5):466-473. doi: 10.1177/1043659620967443. Epub 2020 Nov 18.

Patricia Scott 1, Joan Such Lockhart 1, Rick Zoucha 1, Karen E Jakub 1, Eva M Szigethy 2, Geoffrey C Nguyen 3


Author information

1Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

2University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

3University of Toronto and the Institute for Health Policy Management and Evaluation, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Introduction: Increased numbers of African Americans (AAs) are being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), little is known about the influence of culture on their coping.

Purpose: To explore the beliefs and experiences of AAs with IBD and coping in the context of their culture.

Method: Twelve AA adults with IBD were interviewed and observed using focused ethnography.

Results: Data analysis revealed four themes: (1) spending time living in the bathroom, (2) time and food restricted eating practices and cultural food avoidance, (3) dealing with chronic stress and perceived racial injustice, and (4) the practice of seclusion to manage bathroom urgency and emotions of fear, anxiety, and embarrassment.

Discussion: Participants described coping and culture with experiences similar to other IBD populations, except in the area of perceived racial injustice. Opportunities for nurses to assist with stressors related to bathroom access, cultural eating practices, and participating in activities outside their homes.

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