, Volume 36, Issue 12, pp 1746-1755

Health status and health care use in persons with inflammatory bowel disease

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We randomly surveyed 997 members of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America with inflammatory bowel disease (320 ulcerative colitis and 671 Crohn's disease) in order to: (1) assess their health status, (2) compare members with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, and (3) determine the correlates of health care use. Data collection included variables relating to physical and psychological symptoms, medication use, daily functional status, perceptions of health, and coping styles. The findings indicate that: (1) despite a number of symptoms and complications related to inflammatory bowel disease, the health status of this population is generally good and may be a result of effective coping styles; (2) those with Crohn's disease have more psychosocial difficulties, which appear related to greater symptom severity; (3) both psychosocial and physical health variables are related to number of physician visits, while primarily physical health variables are related to number of hospitalizations and surgeries. Further studies are needed to determine the representativeness of this self-selected sample with others having IBD. In this study, we have provided the basis for developing a more sensitive measure of health status than currently exists, and one which may have implications for future clinical studies.