Racial Differences in the Impact of Irritable Bowel Syndrome on Health-Related Quality of Life

Published in: Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, v. 38, no. 9, Oct. 2004, p. 782-789

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2004

by Ian M. Gralnek, Ron D. Hays, Amy Kilbourne, Lin Chang, Emeran A. Mayer

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GOALS: To compare the impact of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) on health related quality of life (HRQOI) for non-white and white IBS patients. BACKGROUND: There are no reported data evaluating the HRQOL of non-white persons with IBS. STUDY: SF-36 scores are compared between non-white IBS patients (n = 166), white IBS patients (n = 707), the general US population, and patients with selected chronic diseases. RESULTS: Of the n = 166 non-white IBS patients included for analysis, 66 (40%) described themselves as African-American, 56 (34%) as Hispanic, 25 (15%) as Asian-American, 2 (1%) as Native American and the remaining 17 (10%) as other. Compared with white IBS patients, non-white IBS patients reported similar decrements in their HRQOL after controlling for age, gender, income and education level. On all 8 SF-36 scales, non-white IBS patients had significantly worse HRQOL compared with the general US population, (P < 0.001). Compared with GERD patients, non-white IBS patients scored significantly lower on all SF-36 scales (P < 0.001) except physical functioning. Similarly, non-white IBS patients had significantly worse HRQOL on selected SF-36 scales compared with diabetes mellitus and ESRD patients. Non-white IBS patients had significantly better emotional well-being than depressed patients, (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Non-white IBS patients experience impairment in vitality, role limitations-physical, and bodily pain. Yet overall, non-white IBS patients report similar HRQOL to white IBS patients. These data provide the first detailed evaluation of the impact of IBS on HRQOL in non-white IBS patients.

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