Coping and acceptance: The greatest challenge for veterans with intestinal stomas

Robert S. Krouse, Marcia Grant, Susan M. Rawl, M. Jane Mohler, Carol M. Baldwin, Stephen Joel Coons, Ruth McCorkle, C. Max Schmidt, Clifford Y. Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Objective: Intestinal stomas (ostomies) create challenges for veterans. The goal of this qualitative analysis was to understand better patients' perspectives regarding their greatest challenge. Methods: Ostomates at three Veterans Affairs locations were surveyed using the modified City of Hope Quality of Life-Ostomy questionnaire that contained an open-ended request for respondents to describe their greatest challenge. The response rate was 51% (239 of 467); 68% (163 of 239) completed the open-ended item. Content analysis was performed by an experienced qualitative research team. Results: Coping and acceptance were the most commonly addressed themes. The most frequently expressed issues and advice were related to a need for positive thinking and insight regarding adjustment over time. Coping strategies included the use of humor, recognition of positive changes resulting from the stoma, and normalization of life with an ostomy. Conclusions: Coping and acceptance are common themes described by veterans with an intestinal stoma. Health-care providers can assist veterans by utilizing ostomate self-management strategies, experience, and advice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Acceptance
  • Coping
  • Ostomy
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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