Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Christina L Duncan

Committee Co-Chair

Amy L Gentzler

Committee Member

Amy D Herschell


Youth with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) experience poor health-related quality of life (HRQOL; e.g., Cunningham et al., 2007; De Boer et al., 2005; Greenley et al., 2010). Previous research has demonstrated that factors such as problematic family functioning and increased general anxiety are associated with decreased HRQOL in pediatric IBD (e.g., Guilfoyle et al., 2014; Gumidyala & Greenley, 2014; Herzer et al., 2011a; Kilroy, Nolan, & Sarma, 2011). However, little was known about how specific aspects of the parent-child relationship are related to HRQOL. Furthermore, there was a gap in the literature about the relation of gastrointestinal (GI)-specific anxiety to HRQOL. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to identify more specific factors of the parent-child relationship and GI-specific anxiety that are associated with HRQOL in pediatric IBD. Thirty youth with IBD (Mage = 13.90 years, Range = 10 -- 18; 60% Male) and their primary caregivers or parents were recruited from a pediatric gastroenterology clinic in West Virginia. Parents and youth each completed a series of study questionnaires. Results indicated a significant association between GI-specific anxiety and both youth- and parent-reported total HRQOL scores. There were some significant associations among parent-child relationship dimensions and youth- and parent-report of HRQOL. However, most all of these were counterintuitive and may have been a function of study limitations. Exploratory analyses with specific parent-child relationship dimensions as mediators or moderators of GI-specific anxiety and youth-reported HRQOL were non-significant. The small sample and number of analyses performed each contributed to a likely increase in Type I error. Further, the sample was underpowered to detect medium-to-large effect sizes. However, data suggests that GI-specific anxiety is an important consideration in HRQOL in this population. Future directions include expanding data collection for this study to increase statistical power through a larger sample and potentially greater generalizability of data, as well as investigate targeted interventions to improve GI-specific anxiety in this population.