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ON001. An investigation of the manifestations of perceived psychological stress in patients with inflammatory bowel disease

K. Sugrue1, M. Landers2, J. McCarthy1, M. Buckley1, 1Mercy University Hospital, Gastroenterology, Cork, Ireland, 2University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

Background

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract and is a term used to describe Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Studies to date suggest that psychological stress is associated with increased levels of disease activity. There is a dearth of literature on the relationship between psychological stress and its impact on clinically measured disease activity. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of perceived stress on disease activity in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and to explore if a relationship exists between perceived stress and perceived or clinically measured disease activity.

Methods

A quantitative, correlational, descriptive design with a convenience sample of 100 patients was used. Data were collected, using the Perceived Stress Scale Questionnaire and the Harvey Bradshaw Disease Activity Index. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were used to answer the research questions.

Results

Perception of current disease activity illustrated that (n = 24) 24% felt their disease was in remission while (N = 21) 21% felt it was severe. Significantly (n = 74) 74% experienced abdominal pain. The majority (n = 62) 62% of respondents felt nervous and stressed fairly or very often (P = 0.610). More than half of respondents, (N = 53) 53% had a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) of <1. A statistically significant correlation was found between perceived stress and perceived disease activity (P = 0.653). However there was no correlation found between perceived stress and actual disease activity as measured by CRP. There was no correlation found between perceived disease activity and actual disease activity as measured by CRP.

Conclusion

Respondents with high perceived stress scores reported higher levels of perceived disease activity. The Clinical Nurse Specialist is the primary point of contact for all IBD patients and as such requires a very clear understanding of the psychological manifestations of stress and its relationship with disease activity.