With Bowel Disease, Parents' Anxiety Worse Than Children's

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS -- Parents of children with inflammatory bowel disease perceive the effects of their children's illness more intensely than do the children themselves, according to Carin L. Cunningham, Ph.D.

"Treating physicians need to be aware of how the parents of children with inflammatory bowel disease are managing, because parental anxiety increases the child's anxiety," Dr. Cunningham said during a poster session at the annual meeting of the Midwest Society for Pediatric Research.

Parents fret that their children may not lead normal lives or participate in normal activities, or that they may not be able to start a family of their own, Dr. Cunningham said in an interview.

"These concerns are most prevalent among parents who do not have IBD themselves," explained Dr. Cunningham, a pediatric psychologist at the Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

The study examined the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), compared with the HRQOL of physically healthy peers, with emphasis on the effects of IBD and steroidal side effects.

The HRQOL scores of 49 children and adolescents (aged 10-18 years) with IBD and their parents, who completed the Child Health Questionnaire, were compared with those of healthy children.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to describe the impact of IBD on HRQOL based on both a standardized measure and a controlled comparison of U.S. children and adolescents with IBD and physically healthy [peers] who were recruited from the same setting," Dr. Cunningham and her associates said. …