Psychological well-being of children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease

Laura Vekara, Saija Kantanen, Kaija-Leena Kolho, Kati Räsänen, Timo Lakka, Heini Huhtala, Eija Piippo-Savolainen, Pekka Arikoski, Pauliina Hiltunen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Objectives: Prior studies on the psychological well-being in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (PIBD) have reported controversial results. Our aim was to compare the psychological well-being and lifestyle factors in patients with PIBD and their controls and to assess the role of contributing disease characteristics. Methods: This cross-sectional study included 60 PIBD patients aged 6−17 years (26 with Crohn's disease [CD], 34 with ulcerative colitis [CD] or unclassified colitis [IBD-U]) from two university hospitals in Finland, and their age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Psychological well-being was assessed with three measures: a questionnaire on overall psychological well-being (PSWB) and for adolescents also Beck Depression Inventory (BDI Ia) and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). In addition to disease characteristics and pain, we assessed physical activity, sleep, screen time, and social well-being. Results: Controls were more likely of stressing more (OR = 3.67, 95% CI = 1.02−13.14), but other measures of psychological well-being did not differ statistically significantly between patients and controls. In CD, a clinically more active disease associated with inferior psychological well-being in adolescents (BDI [ρ = 0.63, p = 0.021], PSS [ρ = 0.70, p = 0.008], PSWB [ρ = 0.56, p = 0.049]). Longer time from diagnosis correlated with better psychological well-being on BDI (ρ = −0.39, p = 0.024) and PSS (ρ = −0.38, p = 0.034). Lifestyle was more sedentary in PIBD (less physical activity in children OR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.68−0.99 and more screen time in adolescents OR = 1.18, 95% CI = 1.00−1.40). Conclusion: Although the clinical features of PIBD are potentially a burden for psychological well-being, many young patients cope well with their disease. Individual variation in well-being is remarkable, making supportive measures challenging.

Original languageEnglish
Journal Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • anxiety
  • Crohn's disease
  • depression
  • pediatrics
  • ulcerative colitis

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Psychological well-being of children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this