Esophagus to Small Intestine
Dig Dis Sci. 2022;67(11):5158–67
Impact of celiac disease on dating
Background and aims: When seeking a romantic partner, individuals with celiac disease (CD) must navigate challenging social situations. The aim of this study was to investigate dating-related behaviors in adults with CD.
Methods: A total of 11,884 affiliates of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University were invited to participate in an online survey. Adults (≥ 18 years) with biopsy-diagnosed CD were included. Among the 5249 who opened the email, 538 fully completed the survey (10.2%). The survey included a CD-specific dating attitudes/behaviors questionnaire, a Social Anxiety Questionnaire (SAQ), a CD-specific quality of life instrument (CD-QOL), and a CD Food Attitudes and Behaviors scale (CD-FAB).
Results: Respondents were primarily female (86.8%) and the plurality (24.4%) was in the 23–35-year-age range. 44.3% had dated with CD, and among them, 68.4% reported that CD had a major/moderate impact on their dating life. A major/moderate impact was more commonly reported among females (69.3%, p < 0.001), 23–35-year-olds (77.7%, p = 0.015), those with a household income < $50,000 (81.7%, p = 0.019), and those with a lower CD-QOL score (50.5 vs. 73.4, p = 0.002). While on dates, 39.3% were uncomfortable explaining precautions to waiters, 28.2% engaged in riskier eating behaviors, and 7.5% intentionally consumed gluten. 39.0% of all participants were hesitant to kiss their partner because of CD; females more so than males (41.1% vs. 22.7%, p = 0.005).
Conclusions: The majority of participants felt that celiac disease (CD) had a major/moderate impact on their dating life. This impact may result in hesitation toward dating and kissing, decreased quality of life, greater social anxiety, and less adaptive eating attitudes and behaviors. CD and the need to adhere to a gluten-free diet have a major impact on dating and intimacy.