Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on disease management and psychological status. This study explored psychological reactions to the Covid-19 emergency and IBD disease management in a sample of Italian patients.
An online questionnaire was designed to assess general concerns, psychological reaction, disease management, socio-demographics, and clinical information with validated scales and ad hoc items. A non-probabilistic purposive sample was selected, comprised patients with IBD who belonged to the Italian Association for patients with IBD (AMICI Onlus) completed the questionnaire in April 2020. Data obtained were analyzed using descriptive statistics, student’s T-test for independent groups, and one-way ANOVA (Analysis of Variance).
One thousand fourteen eligible questionnaires were analyzed. Italian patients with IBD appeared to be very worried about the Covid-19 emergency (60.7%) and concerned about the risks of infection (59%). Half of the sample reported medium to high-perceived stress, and 74% had low-medium coping self-efficacy levels. One third was in a state of psychological arousal. Twenty-nine percent of patients had canceled hospital appointments for fear of contracting the virus. The majority of responders believed that belonging to the Italian Association for Patients with IBD – AMICI Onlus – is useful.
The results revealed that this sample of Italian patients with IBD lived with medium level of stress and with inadequate coping self-efficacy regarding disease management. Accordingly, Covid-19 may affect self-management behaviors. Therefore, national and regional associations for patients with IBD, should largely support these patients in this emergency.

© 2021. The Author(s).