The Role of Support for Individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Mellor, Emma and Murray, Craig and Rowse, Georgina (2022) The Role of Support for Individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis is comprised of three sections which include a systematic literature review (SLR), an empirical research paper and a critical appraisal, focusing on the psychological wellbeing of individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The SLR identified 22 qualitative research papers which discuss the importance of social support for individuals with IBD and its role in helping individuals cope with lifelong diagnoses. Three themes were found following thematic synthesis: (1) Supportive peers; (2) Shared experiences; and (3) Openness. A range of ways individuals with IBD utilise support from others to help them cope are identified, highlighting the importance of healthcare professionals including these systems in care and treatment of IBD. The empirical paper explores the experience of difficulties with eating for individuals with IBD. Diet and nutrition become a central focus for these individuals yet little acknowledgement is given within research or by healthcare professionals to how this may impact on psychological difficulties. To develop an initial understanding, semi-structured interviews were completed with six individuals with IBD who report experiencing difficulties with eating. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to analyse data, which identified four themes: (1) The need to restrict and control diet; (2) Increased intrinsic and extrinsic awareness: the impact on body image; (3) Responsibility, guilt and engagement: The experience of clinical interventions; and (4) Feeling helpless: nowhere to turn. These findings provide insight into the processes through which difficulties with eating developed for these individuals, but also highlight more support with these difficulties is needed from healthcare services. The final section provides a critical appraisal in which the candidate’s interest in eating difficulties for individuals with IBD is discussed, alongside limitations of the papers. Focus is given to the researcher’s experience of IBD and the impact this had on issues such as reflexivity.

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Thesis (PhD)
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12 Oct 2022 13:20
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 06:00