The researchers investigated the consequences of having a chronic digestive disorder on the social position of adolescents.
The findings of the study were reported in the May issue of the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), chronic liver diseases, congenital digestive disorders, celiac disease, and food allergy (n = 758, ages 12-25 years) were included in the study.
Each diagnostic group was compared with a population-based control group.
Social position was assessed by a mailed questionnaire. This measured 24 aspects, categorized as education, leisure activities, friendship, labor participation, financial situation, partnership, and sexuality.
The investigators found that 8 aspects of social position were affected negatively by 1 or more chronic digestive diseases.
These included absence from school due to illness, going out, having a paid job, and needing re-education in order to get a job.
|Digestive disorders negatively affect:|
- Leisure activities
- Financial situation
| European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology |
Further problems encountered were getting benefits as main income source, encountering bottlenecks in establishing financial commitments, having self-confidence in making a pass at someone, and restrictions in sexual relationships.
Adolescents with chronic liver disease and IBD were found to experience more restrictions in social position.
Adolescents with food allergy and congenital digestive disorders appeared to experience some restrictions, but to a lesser degree, compared with controls.
Moreover, those with celiac disease did not appear to have any problems regarding social position, compared with controls.
Hiske Calsbeek, of the Netherlands Institute of Health Services Research, Utrecht, concluded on behalf of fellow authors, "The social position of adolescents is affected negatively by having a chronic digestive disease, in particular chronic liver disease and IBD."
"Negative consequences occur in education, leisure activities, labor participation, financial situation, partnership, and sexuality."