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What Factors Influence Gluten-free Diet Adherence in Young Adult Men with Celiac Disease?

Self-assurance, authority, and confidence are key factors to a successful gluten-free diet for young adult men.


What factors are most important in helping young men with celiac disease to remain gluten-free? Photo: CC--katieg93

Celiac.com 03/03/2017 - Previous studies have shown us that men are generally less troubled living with celiac disease than are women, but most studies of men with celiac disease have been mostly quantitative, and have a bio-medical emphasis.

A team of researchers recently set out to explore the social experience of young men with screening-detected celiac disease and to highlight daily life situations five years after diagnosis. The research team included Ethel Kautto, Cecilia Olsson, Anneli Ivarsson, Phil Lyon, Agneta Hörnell, and Lena Alex. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Food and Nutrition and Umeå Center for Gender Studies, Umeå University, Sweden, the Department of Food and Nutrition, Umeå University, Sweden, the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeå University, Sweden, the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management at Queen Margaret University, UK, and the Department of Nursing at Umeå University in Sweden.

Using a large Swedish school-based celiac screening-study, the team arranged to interview seven young men, all of whom were diagnosed with celiac disease at 13 years-old.

The semi-structured interviews were analyzed from a gender perspective which resulted in three themes. Those themes were of young adult men being subjected to changes, striving for normality and emphasizing commitment.

Many of young men reported dissociating themselves from being seen as a person with a life-long chronic disease.

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The analysis also showed that the young men’s daily experiences of living with celiac disease largely depended on their use of characteristics known to be associated with masculinity: such as being self-assured, demanding, and behaving authoritatively.

In food situations, where the young men had the ability to make use of such characteristics in their informal group, they experienced fewer negative aspects of the disease.

If the young men did not hold a strong position in their informal group, their situation was insecure and vulnerable and this could lead to avoidance of contacts and social meal situations.

So, basically, being relaxed and socially confident about eating gluten-free helps to ensure success with the diet.

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