Demographic, clinical, and quality of life variables related to embarrassment in veterans living with an intestinal stoma

Kimberly A. Mitchell, Susan M. Rawl, C. Max Schmidt, Marcia Grant, Clifford Y. Ko, Carol M. Baldwin, Christopher Wendel, Robert S. Krouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The study aims were to identify demographic, clinical, and quality of life variables related to embarrassment for people living with ostomies and to determine the experiences and/or feelings of veterans who were embarrassed by their ostomy. DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional, correlational study. SETTING AND SUBJECTS: A convenience sample of veterans (n ≤ 239) living with ostomies from 3 VA medical centers was studied. The veterans were primarily Caucasian (84%), male (92%), and older (M ≤ 69). INSTRUMENTS: The modified City of Hope Quality of Life-Ostomy questionnaire was used. Additionally, an open-ended question related to living with an ostomy was asked. METHODS: The questionnaire packets were mailed to participants and self-administered. RESULTS: Approximately half of the participants (48%) rated their embarrassment as low, but 26% reported high embarrassment. Participants with high embarrassment were compared to those with low embarrassment on demographic, clinical, and quality of life variables. High embarrassment was associated with poorer total quality of life (P < .001) and poorer quality of life on the physical (P < .001), psychological (P < .001), social (P < .001), and spiritual (P < .001) subscales. Younger (P < .001) and unpartnered veterans (P < .001) were more likely to be highly embarrassed. Veterans with high embarrassment had higher anxiety (P < .001) and depression (P < .001), more difficulty with intimacy (P < .001), and felt more isolated (P < .001). Spiritual domain variables like hopefulness were associated with low embarrassment (P < .001). Sources of embarrassment included leakage, odor, and noise. CONCLUSIONS: Embarrassment may negatively impact a person's quality of life; therefore, the variables associated with high embarrassment should be recognized and addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)524-532
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical–Surgical
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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