Purpose: To describe the reported health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) after attending an IBD summer camp.
Methods: A prospective analysis of quality of life was completed at an overnight camp that was exclusively for patients with IBD, which was sponsored by the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. The IMPACT-II questionnaire (Canada and United States) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children were administered to the campers at the beginning and at the end of a 1-week camp to assess HRQOL and anxiety. The IMPACT-II questionnaire consists of 35 questions measuring 6 quality-of-life domains (i.e., bowel domain, systemic symptoms, emotional functioning, social functioning, body image, and treatment/interventions). The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children consists of 2 different 20-item sets of questions. One set assesses state anxiety, and the other, trait anxiety. A repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance was performed to determine the differences between scores attained before and after camp on the IMPACT-II questionnaire and in each of its domains. Paired sample t tests were performed on state and trait anxiety before and after camp.
Results: A total of 125 individuals consented to participate, but 61 patients (50 girls and 11 boys; age range, 9 to 16 y) completed the IMPACT-II questionnaire in full. Of those 61 patients, 47 had Crohn's disease and 14 had ulcerative colitis. There was statistically significant improvement between the mean (±SD) precamp total score (172.95 ± 36.61) and the mean postcamp total score (178.71 ± 40.97; P = 0.035), bowel symptoms scores (P = 0.036), social functioning scores (P = 0.022), and treatment interventions scores (P = 0.012). No difference was found between anxiety scores before and after camp on either the state or trait anxiety inventories (n = 55; P > 0.05).
Conclusions: Overall, HRQOL improved in children after attending IBD summer camp. This exploratory study suggests that contributing factors for these improvements may be an increase in social functioning, a better acceptance of IBD symptoms, and less distress regarding treatment interventions, suggesting that a camp that is specifically designed for children with IBD may normalize the chronic illness experience. However, future research using a multimodal measurement approach is warranted to support these conclusions.