Optimizing management of Crohn's disease within a project management framework: Results of a pilot study


  • Supported in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine awarded to the first author (grant number R21AT003204).



Psychotherapy for Crohn's disease (CD) has focused on patients with psychological distress. Another approach to optimize management of CD is to target patients who do not exhibit psychological distress but engage in behaviors that undermine treatment efficacy / increase risk for flare. We sought to determine the feasibility/acceptability and estimate the effects of a program framed around Project Management (PM) principles on CD outcomes.


Twenty-eight adults with quiescent CD without a history of psychiatric disorder were randomized to PM (n = 16) or treatment as usual (TAU; n = 12). Baseline and follow-up measures were Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ), Medication Adherence Scale (MAS), Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ), and IBD Self-Efficacy Scale (IBD-SES).


There were significant group × time effects favoring PM on IBDQ-Total Score (F(1) = 15.2, P = 0.001), IBDQ-Bowel (F(1) = 6.5, P = 0.02), and IBDQ-Systemic (F(1) = 9.3, P = 0.007) but not IBDQ-Emotional (F(1) = 1.9, P = ns) or IBDQ-Social (F(1) = 2.4, P = ns). There was a significant interaction effect favoring PM with respect to PSQ (F(1) = 8.4, P = 0.01) and IBD-SES (F(1) = 12.2, P = 0.003). There was no immediate change in MAS (F(1) = 4.3, P = ns). Moderate effect sizes (d > 0.30) were observed for IBDQ total score (d = 0.45), IBDQ bowel health (d = 0.45), and systemic health (d = 0.37). Effect sizes for PSQ (d = 0.13) and IBDSES (d = 0.17) were smaller.


Behavioral programs that appeal to patients who may not seek psychotherapy for negative health behaviors may improve quality of life and potentially disease course and outcomes. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2011)