Eighty three patients in whom the diagnosis of Crohn's disease had been made before the age of 40 years and who had been resident in the city of Cardiff were asked to complete a detailed questionnaire about their educational and employment experiences. Responses were obtained from 58 patients (response rate = 70%), 23 buddy controls, and 27 community controls. The mean (SD) age of patients at the time of the survey was 31 (5) years. Twenty four of the patients were diagnosed before leaving secondary education, at a mean age of 17 years. They had lost significantly more days' schooling than controls (chi 2 = 14.3 p less than 0.001) but had achieved similar academic success as measured by examination passes and attendance at tertiary institutes of education. Similar numbers of patients and controls were employed at the time of the survey, although significantly more patients had experienced long term unemployment (z = 2.6 p less than 0.01). As a result of their experiences up to 30% actively concealed their illness from employers.
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