The experiences of families who have a child living with inflammatory bowel disease : their stories.
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a disease that is becoming more prevalent in young children, with diagnosis more commonly being made between the ages of 15 and 30 years old. Previous research has focused significantly on the adult cohort, specifically looking at the medical symptoms with very little focus on children and adolescents and the psychological affect that is likely to be present. The focus of the present study was on families living with children who had been diagnosed with IBD and were under the age of 16 years old. The aim of this study was gain an insight and to hear the stories of these families and their journey with IBD, and to determine if these individuals are affected by psychological symptoms. Four mothers who had children diagnosed with IBD were interviewed using a semi structured interview method to gain insight into their journey. The results indicate that families and children with an IBD diagnosis all experience psychological symptoms as well as challenges within their own family cohort, including comorbid disorders such as anxiety and a family divide when the sick child was chronically ill. The findings of this study uncovered seven common themes and a number of subthemes relating directly to noticeable changes or challenges that they were faced namely these were; the effect on the child’s characteristics, guilt, school, difficulty forming and maintaining relationships, academic difficulty, emotional toll on family, divided family, financial stressors and psychological support. These psychological effects could be due to a number of factors including, the medication that the children are required to take and the developmental stage that they are in. Future research in this area could further develop this study by gaining perspective from the fathers, siblings and individuals themselves.