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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Retrospective schooling reflections among young adults with pediatric-onset inflammatory bowel disease : an interpretative phenomenological analysis Fuchs, Chantalle Marie


Students with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) face physical, psychological, social, and educational challenges (e.g., inadequate support from teachers, interrupted attendance and engagement in instruction) that can negatively impact learning trajectories. However, researchers have reported that individuals with pediatric-onset IBD do not demonstrate negative long-term outcomes as many appear to be academically successful upon reaching adulthood. It is unclear why this trend has emerged in recent literature. In this study, the lived-experience of seven young adults with pediatric-onset IBD were examined. Participants were asked to retrospectively reflect on how they navigated living with IBD while also attending school, learning academic concepts, and navigating relationships with teachers and peers. The Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) methodological framework was used to guide this investigation. To enhance the credibility and trustworthiness of the findings, employed strategies included: prolonged engagement, reflective journaling, member checks, and measuring the re-occurrence of experience across cases. Six super-ordinate themes and corresponding subthemes emerged from the interviews. IBD Related Experience provided contextual information about participants’ diagnostic process, physical symptoms, mental health concerns, and key sources of stress. Coping Strategies outlined information about individualized medical and holistic treatments used to manage symptoms. Educational Implications revealed participants experienced educational successes in addition to educational challenges and greater levels of difficulty after transitioning to university level programs. Educational Accommodations included formal and informal accommodations and personally developed academic strategies used to overcome educational challenges. Processes of Normalization depicted participants’ journey from experiencing feelings of embarrassment, finding connections with others, and working towards establishing a “new normal.” Social Interactions involved participants keeping their diagnosis private or disclosing to others. After disclosing, participants experienced positive and negative interactions from others. Overall, these participants were academically high achieving and experienced successful educational outcomes. This conclusion (a) likely offers a realistic description of what some students with IBD experience while in school (i.e., mixed experience of successes and challenges) and (b) supported recent researchers who have argued that students with IBD experience long-term educational success. Limitations, strengths, and implications associated with the study along with recommendations for future directions are discussed.

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