Sustaining, forming and letting go of friendships for young people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): a qualitative interview-based study

ALISON ROUNCEFIELD-SWALES, BERNIE CARTER, LUCY BRAY, LUCY BLAKE, Stephen Allen, Chris Probert, Kay Crook, Pamela Qualter

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Abstract

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an incurable, chronic, gastrointestinal condition that can constrain young people’s social relationships. Few studies have specifically explored friendships of people with IBD. This qualitative, participatory study used interviews, photographs, and friendship maps to explore friendships and friendship networks of young people with IBD. A Young Person’s Advisory Group was actively engaged throughout the study. Thirty-one young people participated (n=16 male, n=15 female; n=24 Crohn’s, n=7 colitis; mean age at study was 18.7 years; range 14-25 years). Findings present a meta-theme ‘The importance and meaning of friendships’ and three interwoven sub-themes of ‘Sustaining friendships’, ‘Forming new friendships’, and ‘Letting go of friendships’. Friendship was important to the young people with IBD, providing support, but associated with challenges such as disclosure. Such challenges could be mitigated by clearer conversations with clinicians about friendships and more extensive conversations about friendships and long-term conditions in education settings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7254972
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Chronic Diseases
Volume2020
Early online date4 Sep 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Crohn’s
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Friendships
  • Social Support
  • Adolescence
  • Youth
  • Young People

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