Two separate studies were done by Michael Yi, MD, the associate professor of medicine, and Sian Cotton, PhD, research assistant professor in the department of family medicine. They investigated how adolescents might use spirituality as a coping tool for their illnesses like inflammatory bowel disease.
They defined spirituality as “One’s sense of meaning or purpose in life or one’s sense of connectedness to the sacred or divine. “
Patients with IBD experience recurrent abdominal pain, bloody stools and diarrhoea, among other serious problems, and have an increased risk for colon cancer. Some would argue that all of these symptoms can be even more difficult to deal emotionall with when you are a teenager. In fact, research has shown that teens with IBD, this condition without a cure, are at risk for numerous psychosocial difficulties, including increased mental health problems and social stigma.
In the report Yi states, “Personal characteristics like self esteem, family functioning and social characteristics, like level of peer support, were similar between adolescents with IBD when compared to healthy peers, indicating that adolescents with IBD appear resilient.”
“However, health-related quality of life was significantly poorer in general. On average, when compared to their healthy peers, patients with IBD were willing to trade more years of their life expectancy or risk a greater chance of death in order to achieve a better state of health.”