Relationship of Mindfulness, Quality of Life, and Psychiatric Symptoms Among Patients with Ulcerative Colitis
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a significant health problem. IBD patients have an exaggerated response to stress, which is also implicated as a flare-up trigger. Stress management techniques can potentially prevent flare-ups and improve quality of life. This study examines the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and perceived stress, quality of life, and psychiatric distress. Participants with ulcerative colitis (UC) completed questionnaires and were classified into two groups: asymptomatic and symptomatic. Independent samples t tests determined whether the groups differed significantly on mindfulness and psychosocial variables. Pearson's bivariate correlations were used to test for linear relationships between scores on the mindfulness measure and scores on psychosocial variables. In the asymptomatic group, mindfulness scores were significantly and inversely correlated with anxiety, depression, and perceived stress scores, and significantly but positively correlated with quality of life. In the symptomatic group, mindfulness was significantly and inversely correlated with perceived stress scores and was not significantly correlated with other psychosocial variables. Our data suggest that mindfulness training, which can be incorporated into a stress management program, may be an important component in treating UC, by improving physical and psychiatric functioning. Randomized, placebo-controlled trials are necessary to determine whether MBSR is useful in managing UC.