Stress is often perceived by patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as the leading cause of their disease.
Dr Eric Lerebours and colleagues from France assessed whether stress, evaluated through life event occurrence, is associated with IBD onset.
Incident cases of IBD, including 167 patients with Crohn's disease, and 74 with ulcerative colitis were compared with 2 control groups.
Control Group 1 included 69 patients with acute self-limited colitis.
The researchers involved 255 blood donors in control Group 2.
The research team evaluated stress using Paykel's self-questionnaire of life events.
|Life events were more frequent prior to Crohn's diagnosis|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
Only life events occurring within 6 months before the onset of symptoms in IBD cases, and acute self-limited colitis controls were registered.
The researchers only registered blood donor controls before blood donation.
Anxiety and depression were assessed using Bate's and Beck's questionnaires, respectively.
The team found that life events were more frequent in the 6-month period prior to diagnosis in Crohn's cases than in ulcerative colitis or controls.
The researchers then adjusted their analyses for depression, and anxiety scores.
In addition, the team adjusted for characteristics such as smoking status, and sociodemographic features.
After this adjustment, the team found that this association appeared no longer significant.
No associations were noted between occurrence of life events, and onset of ulcerative colitis relative to controls.
Dr Lerebours' team concludes, “Despite its separate association with Crohn's disease, life events occurrence does not appear to be an independent risk factor for IBD onset.”