This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Women with Inflammatory Bowel Disease Experiences with Dating and Romantic Relationships




Stokes, Lindsay

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling

Restriction Status


Restriction Type


Date Available



The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of women with inflammatory bowel disease and their experiences in dating and romantic relationships. Through in-depth, semi-structured interviews, the researcher sought to capture the nuances and the essence of women with inflammatory bowel disease lived experience with dating and romantic relationships. The participants in this study included six women with inflammatory bowel disease who have engaged in dating or romantic relationships since their diagnosis. Each interview was analyzed using a thematic analysis approach through a relational-cultural theory lens. Results from this study provide insight into women with inflammatory bowel disease experiences with dating and romantic relationships. A discussion of four overarching themes, which include reaction to diagnosis, process of disclosure, support needed in relationship, and impact on relationship provides insight and understanding of women with IBD. Counselors and health care providers are better able to support women with IBD in their journey with dating and relationships by assisting women with IBD to become comfortable with disclosure and recognize needs in relationships. Implications for counselors and healthcare providers as well as recommendations for future research are also discussed.