Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jennifer Groscup

Reader 2

Theodore Bartholomew

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Rights Information

© 2022 Bansi D Patel


Chronically ill individuals often face comorbid mental illnesses. Mental illness symptoms can cause their chronic illness symptoms to worsen; the converse is also true. Such is the case with Crohn’s disease (CD) patients. The present literature lacks research on the relationship between CD and mental illness symptoms. Additionally, the literature lacks chronically ill participants who are South Asian Americans (SAA). SAA often face more mental health stigma than their white peers which can worsen one’s mental illness symptoms. This study examines the impact that mental health symptoms have on the psychological distress faced by SAA who are diagnosed with CD. Additionally, mental illness type, mental health stigma, acculturation status, quality of life, and illness intrusiveness will moderate this relationship. A sample of 757 SAA participants, both with and without CD, will complete a survey that measures their acculturation status, quality of life, illness intrusiveness, mental health stigma, mental illness type, and psychological distress. It is hypothesized that being diagnosed with CD leads to an increase in mental health symptoms which leads to higher levels of mental health stigma which ultimately results in higher levels of psychological distress. CD participants will experience higher levels of mental health stigma, illness intrusiveness, and psychological distress and lower levels of quality of life than non-CD participants. This study provides a more nuanced look into two underrepresented populations (CD patients and SAA individuals) and can help clinicians develop culturally-informed mental health interventions for SAA CD patients.