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‘One sip won't do any harm . . .’: Temptation among women with inflammatory bowel disease/irritable bowel syndrome to engage in negative dietary behaviours, despite the consequences to their health


Margaret A. Schneider, Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, 75 University Ave. W., Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3C5. Email:


The purpose of this research was to explore the dietary lived experiences of university-aged women suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This paper will address the decision-making process used by these women when contemplating the consumption of dietary temptations, despite the associated negative consequences. This phenomenological study was guided by heuristic inquiry. A purposive sample of eight women, between the ages of 18 and 23 years, who were living with IBD or IBS were recruited via postings and word-of-mouth. The findings indicate that these women occasionally felt compelled to give into dietary temptations, despite the consequences to their health. The decision-making process they used when considering these negative health behaviours involved three personally controlled parameters. These three parameters included: assessing the cost–benefit relationship before engaging in these behaviours; having a physical and/or psychological reliance on medications to treat resulting symptoms; and through controlling the timing and surroundings in which they indulged in these negative dietary behaviours. The practical implications for health-care professionals treating patients with IBD or IBS are discussed.

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