Longitudinal Analysis of the Behavioral and Occupational Factors Present in Individuals Living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Calgary, Alberta

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The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus resulted in a public health emergency. Routine behaviours such as shopping were considered high-risk during the pandemic. Research on how people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) altered their behaviour during the pandemic is lacking. Therefore, we aimed to understand how the behaviours of persons with IBD were altered during the pandemic, and whether behavioural exposures were associated with COVID-19 disease. At recruitment, 556 participants with a confirmed diagnosis of IBD were administered a self-report, online questionnaire. The primary baseline questionnaire captured demographic and occupational factors as well as the frequency of social behaviours at two time periods: 1. January–March 2020 (i.e., prior to pandemic lockdown), and 2. January–September 2021 (i.e., restriction period). A follow-up questionnaire investigating the same exposures from January–March 2022 (Omicron era) was completed by a subset of 223 participants between September 1st, 2022, and October 20th, 2022. Proportions for high frequency behaviours (daily to once per week) across the three time periods were reported. Multivariable logistic regression was used to analyze behaviours and Omicron-era COVID-19 cases. Behavioural changes were observed across all three time periods. The proportion of highly frequent behaviours dropped for almost all behaviour measures (except for outdoor exercise and online groceries) between January–March 2020 and January–September 2021. The proportion of most behaviours increased between January–September 2021 and January–March 2022 but did not match pre-pandemic levels (except online groceries, outdoor fitness, and travelling). Participants who visited restaurants frequently (i.e., daily to once per week) had 3.24 times the odds of getting COVID-19 compared with those who visited a restaurant infrequently (i.e., less than once per week). Over a two-year period, those with IBD changed their behaviours and lifestyle, perhaps in response to policy and restriction changes in Alberta. Individuals with IBD resorted to lower risk behaviours such as outdoor exercise, and activities with higher risk of exposure (e.g., indoor fitness) did not return to pre-pandemic levels.
Caplan, L. N. (2023). Longitudinal analysis of the behavioral and occupational factors present in individuals living with inflammatory bowel disease during the COVID-19 pandemic in Calgary, Alberta (Master's/Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.