Relationship between health status, illness perceptions, coping strategies and psychological morbidity: a preliminary study with IBD stoma patients

S R Knowles, S I Cook, D Tribbick
Journal of Crohn's & Colitis 2013, 7 (10): e471-8

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Individuals living with IBD and a stoma are at an increased risk of anxiety and depression and it is likely that several factors mediate these relationships, including illness perceptions and coping strategies. Using the Common Sense Model (CSM), this study aimed to characterize the mediators of anxiety and depression in an IBD stoma cohort.

METHODS: Eighty-three adults (23 males) with a stoma (25 ileostomy, 58 colostomy; 26 emergency, 57 planned, 55 permanent, 28 temporary) completed an online survey. Health status was measured with the Health Orientation Scale (HOS), coping styles assessed with the Carver Brief COPE scale, illness perceptions explored with the Brief Illness Perceptions Questionnaire (BIPQ), and anxiety and depression were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

RESULTS: Combining the questionnaire data using structural equation modeling resulted in a final model with an excellent fit (χ(2) (11)=12.86, p=0.30, χ(2)/N=1.17, SRMR<0.05, RMSEA<0.05, GFI>0.96, CFI>0.99). Consistent with the CSM, health status directly influenced illness perceptions, which in turn, influenced coping (emotion-focused and maladaptive coping). Interestingly, months since surgery was found to influence illness perceptions and emotion-focused coping directly, but not health status. While depression was influenced by illness perceptions, emotion-focused coping and maladaptive coping, anxiety was only influenced by illness perceptions and maladaptive coping.

CONCLUSIONS: The preliminary results provide further evidence for the complex interplay between psychological processes. In terms of directions for psychological interventions, a focus on identifying and working with illness perceptions is important.

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