• coeliac disease;
  • Coeliac School;
  • gluten-free diet;
  • patient education;
  • problem-based learning;
  • randomised controlled trial

Aim and objective.  To assess the effects of an active method of patient education on the psychological well-being of women with coeliac disease in remission.

Background.  Despite remission with a gluten-free diet, adults with coeliac disease and especially women experience a subjective poor health. Self-management education seems to be promising tool to help patients suffering from coeliac disease to cope with their disorder.

Design.  A randomised controlled trial.

Methods.  A total of 106 women, ≥20 years, with confirmed coeliac disease, who had been on a gluten-free diet for a minimum of five years. The intervention group (= 54) underwent a 10-session educational programme, ‘Coeliac School’, based on problem-based learning. The controls (= 52) received information regarding coeliac disease sent home on a regular basis. The primary outcomes were psychological general well-being measured with a validated questionnaire.

Results.  Participants in the Coeliac School reported a significant improvement in psychological well-being at 10 weeks, whereas the controls given usual care reported a worsening in psychological well-being. After six months, a significant improvement remained for the index of vitality.

Conclusions.  Patient education increased psychological well-being in women with coeliac disease. There is a need to refine the methods of patient education to make the effects of well-being more pronounced over time.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Patient education using problem-based learning promotes self-management in coeliac disease by improving the well-being of patients who have been struggling with the gluten-free diet for years.