Spiritual Well-Being and Mental Health Outcomes in Adolescents With or Without Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Sian Cotton, Ian Kudel, Yvonne Humenay Roberts, Harini Pallerla, Joel Tsevat, Paul Succop, Michael S. Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was threefold: 1) to describe spiritual well-being (existential and religious well-being) in adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) versus healthy peers; 2) to examine associations of spiritual well-being with mental health outcomes (emotional functioning and depressive symptoms); and 3) to assess the differential impact of existential versus religious well-being on mental health. Methods: A total of 155 adolescents aged 11-19 years from a children's hospital and a university hospital filled out questionnaires including the Spiritual Well-Being Scale, the Children's Depression Inventory-Short Form, and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory. Covariates in multivariable models included demographics, disease status, and interactions. Results: Participants' mean (SD) age was 15.1 (2.0) years; 80 (52%) were male; and 121 (78%) were of white ethnicity. Levels of existential and religious well-being were similar between adolescents with IBD and healthy peers. In multivariable analyses, existential well-being was associated with mental health (partial R2 change = .08-.11, p < .01) above and beyond other characteristics (total R2 = .23, p < .01). Presence of disease moderated both the relationship between existential well-being and emotional functioning and that between religious well-being and depressive symptoms: that is, the relationships were stronger in adolescents with IBD as compared with healthy peers. Religious well-being was only marginally significantly associated with mental health after controlling for other factors. Conclusions: Although both healthy adolescents and those with IBD had high levels of spiritual well-being, having IBD moderated the relationship between spiritual well-being and mental health. Meaning/purpose was related to mental health more than was connectedness to the sacred.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-492
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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