The Role of Distress and Pain Catastrophizing on the Health-related Quality of Life of Children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Chiara De Carlo, Matteo Bramuzzo, Claudia Canaletti, Chiara Udina, Giorgio Cozzi, Paolo M. Pavanello, Stefania Rampado, Stefano Martelossi, Fabiola Giudici, Grazia Di Leo, Egidio Barbi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be particularly challenging during the pediatric age with a relevant impact on patient's health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Disease activity accounts for only a small part of the variability in HRQoL, and psychological factors can play a significant role. We aimed to evaluate the impact of patient's distress and pain catastrophizing on children and adolescents with IBD. Methods: We prospectively recruited children aged 8 to 18 with IBD and recorded demographic and disease characteristics. Patients answered questionnaires on HRQoL (IMPACT III), distress (distress thermometer [DT]), and pain catastrophizing (Pain Catastrophizing Scale-Children [PCS-C]). Univariate and multivariate regression models analysis were used to evaluate correlations between patients' characteristics, disease activity, distress, pain catastrophizing, and HRQoL. Results: Seventy-one patients were enrolled (median age 13.6, 49.3% Crohn disease, 50.7% ulcerative colitis). Median HRQoL, DT, and PCS-C scores were 78.6 (interquartile range 68.0-87.1), 3.0 (1.0-5.0), and 12.0 (4.0-23.0), respectively. Patient's distress and pain catastrophizing levels significantly correlated with HRQoL. Pain catastrophizing had the strongest impact on HRQoL (Spearman correlation coefficient, ρ = 0.73), followed by distress (ρ = 0.67), and ulcerative colitis severity (ρ = 0.67). The DT and the PCS-C scores were significantly associated (ρ = 0.46). Conclusions: Distress and pain catastrophizing have a significative impact on HRQoL in young patients with IBD. Physicians should recognize the role of these psychological factors and consider cognitive-behavioral therapy to optimize the patient's health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E99-E104
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2019


  • children
  • distress
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • pain catastrophizing
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology


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