Study publications to date:
The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on individuals with gastrointestinal disorders: A protocol of an international collaborative study
Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health across the globe. People living with a chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorder might be particularly at risk of mental health complications given higher rates of comorbid anxiety and depression compared to the healthy population. As GI disorders affect up to 40% of the population worldwide, this international collaborative study seeks to evaluate the extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on GI symptoms specifically and more generally on the well-being of those living with chronic GI conditions. Methods: A longitudinal survey with three time points (baseline, 6-month, and 12-month) will be conducted online. Adult participants with GI disorders from multiple countries will be recruited via patient associations, social media advertising, utilizing snowball sampling. Participants will be invited to complete a battery of questionnaires including demographic and health parameters, and measures of gastrointestinal symptoms, fear of COVID-19, perceived impact of COVID-19, illness perceptions, coping, depression, anxiety, stress, catastrophizing, and quality of life, using validated measures where available. Statistical analyses will include univariate descriptive models, multivariate models utilizing regression, mediation, and moderation, and latent growth models. Conclusions: This project may present novel information to the field of psychogastroenterology and may provide crucial information regarding the areas of impact for individuals with GI disorders during and following the pandemic. Further, this information can guide healthcare providers and patient associations on how to target support related to the pandemic mental health sequelae for these patients.
Citation: Ferreira N, Mikocka-Walus A, van Tilburg MAL, Graff LA, Apputhurai P, Barreiro-de Acosta M, Evertsz FB, Burisch J, Lo B, Petrik M, Trindade IA, Jedel S, Moser G, Mokrowiecka A, Bernstein CN, Dumitrascu D, Ford AC, Stengel A, Gearry R, Knowles SR. The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on individuals with gastrointestinal disorders: A protocol of an international collaborative study. J Psychosom Res. 2021 Sep;148:110561. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2021.110561.
Exploring the relationship between self-isolation and distress among people with gastrointestinal disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic
This study aimed to explore the association between perceived isolation and symptoms of distress in people with GI disorders at the time of the pandemic; and to examine factors which moderate this relationship. This online cross-sectional survey was advertised in May-September 2020 via patient organisations and associated social media. Overall, 831 people (82% female, mean age 49 years) from 27 countries participated. A significant relationship between social isolation and psychological distress was noted (r=.525, p<.001). GI symptoms moderated the association between isolation and distress (B = .047, t = 2.47, p = .015). Interventions targeting these factors may help to reduce distress in people with GI disorders at the time of major stressors such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citation: Mikocka-Walus A, Skvarc D, de Acosta MB, et al. Exploring the Relationship Between Self-Isolation and Distress Among People with Gastrointestinal Disorders During the COVID-19 Pandemic [published online ahead of print, 2021 Sep 7]. J Clin Psychol Med Settings. 2021;1-12. doi:10.1007/s10880-021-09818-9
Extending the Common Sense Model to Explore the Impact of the Fear of COVID-19 on Quality of Life in an International Inflammatory Bowel Disease Cohort
The aim of this cross-sectional study was to use an extended common sense model (CSM) to evaluate the impact of fear of COVID-19 on quality of life (QoL) in an international inflammatory bowel disease cohort. An online study involving 319 adults (75% female, mean (SD) 14.06 (15.57) years of symptoms) completed the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale, Brief Illness Perceptions Questionnaire, Fear of Contracting COVID-19 Scale, Brief-COPE, Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale, and the EUROHIS-QOL. The extended CSM had an excellent fit (χ2 (9) = 17.06, p = .05, χ2/N = 1.90, RMSEA = 0.05, SRMR = 0.04, CFI = .99, TLI = .97, GFI = 0.99), indicating the influence of gastrointestinal symptoms on QoL was mediated by illness perceptions, fear of COVID-19, adaptive and maladaptive coping, and psychological distress. Interventions targeting the fear of COVID-19 in the context of an individual’s perceptions will likely enhance QoL during the pandemic.
Citation: Hayes B, Apputhurai P, Mikocka-Walus A, Barreiro-de Acosta M, Bernstein CN, Burgell R, Burisch J, Bennebroek Evertsz F, Ferreira N, Graff LA, Trindade IA, Gearry R, Lo B, Mokrowiecka A, Moser G, Petrik M, Stengel A, Knowles SR. Extending the Common Sense Model to Explore the Impact of the Fear of COVID-19 on Quality of Life in an International Inflammatory Bowel Disease Cohort. J Clin Psychol Med Settings. 2021 Sep 24:1–11. doi: 10.1007/s10880-021-09823-y.
COVID-19-related personal product shortages are associated with psychological distress in people living with gastrointestinal disorders: A cross-sectional survey
Background: The mental health response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-related product shortages in those living with chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorders has received little attention. We aimed to explore the association between the pandemic-related product shortages and psychological distress in people with GI disorders. Methods: This online cross-sectional survey was nested within an ongoing, international, prospective study of well-being in people with GI disorders. The study was advertised in multiple countries in May-September 2020 via patient organizations and social media. The primary outcome measure was distress, evaluated by the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale. We utilized linear regressions, adjusting for covariates and testing individual moderation effects. Key results: Overall, 831 people completed the survey from 27 countries, of whom 82% were female (mean age = 49 years). The most common disorders included inflammatory bowel disease (n = 322), celiac disease (n = 273), and irritable bowel syndrome (n = 260). Significant problems accessing food were reported by 19.8%, non-medical therapies by 16%, toilet paper by 10.8%, and essential medication by 8.9% of the sample (>5% pain medication). There was a positive association between toilet paper and pain medication shortages and distress, and a negative association between food shortages and distress. Significant moderation effects were identified for COVID-19 prevalence and toilet paper and food shortages, and between COVID-19 fear and pain medication shortages. Conclusions and inferences: The study documented a significant relationship between product shortages and psychological distress, which were associated with COVID-19 prevalence and fear. Strategies addressing COVID-19 fear could potentially modify the relationship between shortages and distress.
Citation: Mikocka-Walus A, Skvarc D, van Tilburg MAL, Barreiro-de Acosta M, Bennebroek Evertsz F, Bernstein CN, Burisch J, Ferreira N, Gearry RB, Graff LA, Jedel S, Mokrowiecka A, Stengel A, Knowles S. COVID-19-related personal product shortages are associated with psychological distress in people living with gastrointestinal disorders: A cross-sectional survey. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2021 Jun 18:e14198. doi: 10.1111/nmo.14198. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34145689; PMCID: PMC8420452.
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