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J Res Med Sci 2019,  24:34

Living with ulcerative colitis in Iran: Discovery of psychological problems

1 Department of Educational Science and Psychology, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Isfahan, Iran
2 Department of Children with Special Needs, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran
3 Department of Internal Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Web Publication26-Apr-2019

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Asghar Aghaei
Department of Educational Science and Psychology, Isfahan Azad University, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Sharghi Jey Ave, Arghavaniye, Daneshgah Bolvar, Isfahan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jrms.JRMS_678_18

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How to cite this article:
Mazaheri M, Aghaei A, Abedi A, Adibi P. Living with ulcerative colitis in Iran: Discovery of psychological problems. J Res Med Sci 2019;24:34

How to cite this URL:
Mazaheri M, Aghaei A, Abedi A, Adibi P. Living with ulcerative colitis in Iran: Discovery of psychological problems. J Res Med Sci [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 Oct 7];24:34. Available from: https://www.jmsjournal.net/text.asp?2019/24/1/34/257249


Ulcerative colitis (UC) is one of the chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) with unknown etiology.[1] Living with any chronic health condition can challenge person's daily functioning and his/her emotional and psychological well-being. This challenge may be increased in IBD, because course and symptoms of the disease fluctuate unpredictably from an active to inactive periods.[2] It sounds that psychological factors and disease activity are concomitant in a self-perpetuating cycle with devastating effects for IBD patients.[3] However, the UC patients' common experiences in the domain of the psychological factors have not been investigated, at least in Iranian patients.

In a study with a phenomenological qualitative design, the participants were recruited using purposeful sampling from the IBD Outpatient Clinic of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences and private office. The sampling was done in such a way as to encompass greatest variation in the diagnosis and duration of UC, age, and sex (n = 26). The interviews started with one open-ended question: Could you please describe your emotional problems related to living with UC? In order to encourage participants to elaborate on and explain their problems for accessing deeper aspects of the phenomenon, probing questions were applied. Then, the researcher listened to the recorded files and transcribed verbatim them. At the end, the data were analyzed using seven-step Colaizzi's method. The findings included two main concepts: quality of life and perception [Table 1].
Table 1: Categories and subcategories

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This study using qualitative method identified more common physical/psychological variables in UC patients, which are similar to results of the quantitative researches in this regard. In these patients, the researchers consider fatigue, disease-related concerns, and illness perception as significant as other variables such as psychological stress, emotional problems, and disease activity that have been addressed often in various studies. All of these variables can impact quality of life.[4],[5] Given the findings, a quality of life model can be presumed for these patients [Figure 1]. Quality of life is one of the important issues in IBD patients and it has been evaluated in various studies and takes into account as one of the treatment goals for IBD.
Figure 1: Conceptual model of psychological variables of ulcerative colitis

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Ng SC. Epidemiology of inflammatory bowel disease: Focus on Asia. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol 2014;28:363-72.  Back to cited text no. 1
Sirois FM. Editorial: Psychological adjustment to inflammatory bowel disease: The importance of considering disease activity. Am J Gastroenterol 2009;104:2970-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
Schoultz M, Atherton I, Watson A. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for inflammatory bowel disease patients: Findings from an exploratory pilot randomised controlled trial. Trials 2015;16:379.  Back to cited text no. 3
Tabatabaeian M, Afshar H, Roohafza HR, Daghaghzadeh H, Feizi A, Sharbafchi MR, et al. Psychological status in Iranian patients with ulcerative colitis and its relation to disease activity and quality of life. J Res Med Sci 2015;20:577-84.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Jelsness-Jørgensen LP, Bernklev T, Henriksen M, Torp R, Moum BA. Chronic fatigue is associated with impaired health-related quality of life in inflammatory bowel disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2011;33:106-14.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]


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