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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Volume 2016, Article ID 1681507, 8 pages
Research Article

Assessing the Relationship between Sources of Stress and Symptom Changes among Persons with IBD over Time: A Prospective Study

1Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
2IBD Clinical and Research Centre, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
3Department of Internal Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
4Department of Clinical Health Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Received 28 February 2016; Revised 2 September 2016; Accepted 22 September 2016

Academic Editor: Eric I. Benchimol

Copyright © 2016 Matthew T. Bernstein et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To describe the sources of stress for persons with IBD and changes with changes in symptoms. Methods. 487 participants were recruited from a population-based IBD registry. Stress was measured at study entry and three months later, using a general stress measure and the Sources of Stress Scale. Four symptom pattern groups were identified: persistently inactive, persistently active, inactive to active, and active to inactive. Results. General stress levels were stable within each symptom pattern group over the three-month period, even for those with changing symptom activity. The persistently active group had higher general stress at month 0 and month 3 than the persistently inactive group and higher mean ratings of most sources of stress. IBD was rated as a highly frequent source of stress by 20–30% of the persistently active group compared to 1-2% of the inactive group. Finances, work, and family were rated as high frequency stresses in the persistently active group at a similar level to IBD stress. In the groups with fluctuating symptoms, there was little change in stress ratings with changes in symptom activity. Conclusion. Stress was experienced across several domains in addition to stress related to IBD. Persons with active symptoms may benefit from targeted stress interventions.