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Sense of Coherence in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

DOI: 10.1155/2014/989038

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Background and Aim. Sense of coherence (SOC) is a health-promoting concept reflecting a person’s view of life and response to stressful situations and may be of importance in coping with chronic illness. The aim of this study was to explore associations between SOC and sociodemographic, disease-related, and personal characteristics in a sample of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Methods. Measures included sociodemographic and disease-related data, the Sense of Coherence Scale, General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE), and Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS-5). Results. In total, 428 IBD patients had evaluable questionnaires (response rate 93%). The overall mean SOC total score was 66.25 (SD 11.47) and with no statistically significant difference between patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and patients with Crohn’s disease (CD). In the multivariate analyses, higher GSE scores were significantly associated with higher SOC scores and higher FSS-5 scores were significantly associated with lower SOC scores in both UC and CD. Conclusion. GSE and FSS-5 contributed more to the variance in SOC than sociodemographic and disease-related variables. Longitudinal studies are warranted to investigate the value of SOC as a predictor of disability, medication adherence, coping behavior, and health-related quality of life. 1. Introduction The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn’s disease (CD), and ulcerative colitis (UC) are chronic inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract of unknown etiology. The course of disease is characterized by periods of symptom flares and periods with quiescent disease. Common symptoms are diarrhea, bloody stools, fever, fatigue, and abdominal pain [1–3]. As with many chronic diseases, IBD patients’ quality of life and psychosocial function have been shown to be influenced by their disease [4–8]. Further, patients diagnosed with IBD at a young age and with a severe disease course have an increased risk for work disability [9]. Coping with a chronic illness such as IBD involves complex cognitive, physical, emotional, psychological, and behavioral processes [5]. Patients must be able to manage complex medication regimens, find meaning in and adapt to changeable life conditions, and deal with emotions associated with the fact that the disease is not curable. The unpredictable disease course also poses challenges for the patients’ daily life as well their life in general [10]. Given the complexity of living with a chronic illness, personal resources may be of importance for patients’ well-being, quality of life, and ability to

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