International Journal of Celiac Disease
ISSN (Print): 2334-3427 ISSN (Online): 2334-3486 Website: Editor-in-chief: Samasca Gabriel
Open Access
Journal Browser
International Journal of Celiac Disease. 2017, 5(4), 133-139
DOI: 10.12691/ijcd-5-4-3
Open AccessArticle

Social Implications of Celiac Disease or Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Elize Vis1, and Peer Scheepers2

1Department of Sociology, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

2Netherlands Institute for health services research, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Pub. Date: November 24, 2017

Cite this paper:
Elize Vis and Peer Scheepers. Social Implications of Celiac Disease or Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity. International Journal of Celiac Disease. 2017; 5(4):133-139. doi: 10.12691/ijcd-5-4-3


Research has described the perceived social restrictions that people who suffer from celiac disease can experience, but never investigated their actual amount of social contacts as compared to a healthy population. Therefore, we focus on the question whether people who suffer from celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity have less informal social capital (e.g. contacts with friends and family) than a healthy population and, if so, which health related factors can explain these differences in social capital. With the aid of the Dutch Celiac Association, we recently gathered high quality data. Results show that people who are diagnosed with celiac disease or NCGS indeed have less informal social capital than a healthy control group. This can be explained partly because the former more often suffer from depression, poor subjective health and another chronic condition. Moreover, it appears that demographic factors, such as gender, age, having children and marital status, reduce the initial relationship completely. These demographic factors thus play a more important role. As yet, these findings may help healthcare professionals to interpret social consequences of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity in a broader sense.

health related explanations differences informal social capital celiac disease non-celiac gluten sensitivity

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Mustalahti, K., Lohiniemi, S., Collin, P., Vuolteenaho, N., Laippala, P., & Maki, M., “Gluten-free diet and quality of life in patients with screen-detected celiac disease”, Effective clinical practice, 5(3), 105-113, 2002.
[2]  Nachman, F., Maurino, E., Vazquez, H., Sfoggia, C., Gonzalez, A., Gonzalez, V., Plancer del Campo, M., Smecuol, E., Niveloni, S., Sugai. E., Mazure, R., Cabanne, A. & Bai, J. C., “Quality of life in celiac disease patients: prospective analysis on the importance of clinical severity at diagnosis and the impact of treatment”, Digestive and Liver Disease, 41(1), 15-25, 2009.
[3]  Lee, A., & Newman, J. M., “Celiac diet: its impact on quality of life”. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103(11), 1533-1535, 2003.
[4]  Rosén, A., Ivarsson, A., Nordyke, K., Karlsson, E., Carlsson, A., Danielsson, L., Högberg, L. & Emmelin, M., “Balancing health benefits and social sacrifices: a qualitative study of how screening-detected celiac disease impacts adolescents' quality of life” BMC pediatrics, 11(1), 32, 2011.
[5]  Olsson, C., Lyon, P., Hörnell, A., Ivarsson, A., & Sydner, Y. M., “Food that makes you different: the stigma experienced by adolescents with celiac disease.” Qualitative health research, 19(7), 976-984, 2009.
[6]  Sverker, A., Östlund, G., Hallert, C., & Hensing, G. (2009). “‘I lose all these hours…’–exploring gender and consequences of dilemmas experienced in everyday life with coeliac disease.” Scandinavian journal of caring sciences, 23(2), 342-352.
[7]  Ciacci, C., Iavarone, A., Siniscalchi, M., Romano, R., & De Rosa, A., “Psychological dimensions of celiac disease: toward an integrated approach.” Digestive diseases and sciences, 47(9), 2082-2087, 2002.
[8]  Bourdieu, P., The forms of capital. (1986), Cultural theory: An anthology, 81-93, 2011.
[9]  Pichler, F. & Wallace, C., “Patterns of formal and informal social capital in Europe.” European Sociological Review, 23 (4), 423-436, 2007.
[10]  Berkman, L. F. and Kawachi, I., Social Epidemiology, Oxford University Press, New York, 2000.
[11]  Gesthuizen, M., Van der Meer, T. & Scheepers, P., “Education and dimensions of social capital: do educational effects differ due to educational expansion and social security expenditure?” European Sociological Review. 24(5), 617-632, 2008.
[12]  Hogan, D. P., Eggebeen, D. J., & Clogg, C. C., “The structure of intergenerational exchanges in American families.” The American Journal of Sociology, 98, 1428-1458, 1993.
[13]  Haas, S. A., Schaefer, D. R. & Kornienko, O., “Health and the structure of adolescent social networks.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 51(4), 424-439, 2010.
[14]  Hall, N. J., Rubin, G., & Charnock, A., “Systematic review: adherence to a gluten‐free diet in adult patients with coeliac disease.” Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 30(4), 315-330, 2009.
[15]  Wahab, P. J., Meijer, J. W., & Mulder, C. J., “Histologic follow-up of people with celiac disease on a gluten-free diet slow and incomplete recovery.” American journal of clinical pathology, 118(3), 459-463, 2002.
[16]  Faulkner-Hogg, K. B., Selby, W. S., & Loblay, R. H., “Dietary analysis in symptomatic patients with coeliac disease on a gluten-free diet: the role of trace amounts of gluten and non-gluten food intolerances.” Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology, 34(8), 784-789, 1999.
[17]  Smith, D. F., & Gerdes, L. U., “Meta‐analysis on anxiety and depression in adult celiac disease.” Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 125(3), 189-193, 2012.
[18]  Hallert, C., Grännö, C., Grant, C., Hulten, S., Midhagen, G., Ström, M., Svensson, H., Valdimarsson, T. & Wickström, T., “Quality of life of adult coeliac patients treated for 10 years.” Scandinavian journal of gastro-enterology, 33(9), 933-938, 1998.
[19]  Lohiniemi, S., Mustalahti, K., Collin, P., & Mäki, M., “Measuring quality of life in coeliac disease patients.” Changing Features of Coeliac Disease. Tampere, Finland: Finnish Coeliac Society, 71-77, 1998.
[20]  Green, P. H. & Jones, R., Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic, Harpercoller Publishers, New York, 2010.
[21]  Lin, N., Ye, X. & Ensel, W. M., “Social Support and Depressed Mode: A Structural Analysis.” Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, 40, 334-59, 1999.
[22]  Pollack, C. E. & von dem Knesebeck, O., “Social capital and health among the aged: comparisons between the United States and Germany.” Health & Place, 10(4), 383-391, 2004.
[23]  Da Silva, M. J., Huttly, S. R., Harpham, T. & Kenward, M. G., “Social capital and mental health: a comparative analysis of four low income countries.” Social Science & Medicine, 64(1), 5-20, 2007.
[24]  Charmaz, K., “Loss of self: a fundamental form of suffering in the chronically ill.” Sociology of Health & Illness, 5(2), 168-195, 1983.
[25]  Fougeyrollas, L. N. P., Long-term consequences of spinal cord injury on social participation: the occurrence of handicap situations. Disability & Rehabilitation, 22(4), 170-180, 2000.
[26]  De Heus, P., van der Leeden, R., & Gazendam, B., “Toegepaste data-analyse: technieken voor niet-experimenteel onderzoek in de sociale wetenschappen.” Lemma, 1995.
[27]  Fasano, A., & Catassi, C., “Current approaches to diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease: an evolving spectrum.” Gastroenterology, 120(3), 636-651, 2001.
[28]  Dutch Association of Gastroenterologists, “Richtlijn Coeliakie en Dermatitis Herpetiformis”, 2008. Retrieved from (15-9-2015):
[29]  Catassi, C., Elli, L., Bonaz, B., Bouma, G., Carroccio, A., Castillejo, G. & Dieterich, W., “Diagnosis of non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS): the Salerno Experts’ Criteria.” Nutrients, 7(6), 4966-4977, 2015.
[30]  Dewar, D.H., Donnelly, S.C., McLaughlin, S.D., Johnson, M.W., Ellis, H.J. & Ciclitira, P.J., “Management of persistent symptoms in patients on a gluten-free diet.” World Gastroenterology, 18(12) 1348-1356, 2012.
[31]  Huijts, T. H. M., Social ties and health in Europe: Individual associations, cross-national variations, and contextual explanations (Dissertation). Radboud University Nijmegen, 2011.
[32]  UNESCO, “ISCED: International Standard Classification of Education.”, 2015, Retrieved from:
[33]  Preacher, K. J. & Hayes, A. F., “Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models”, Behavior Research Methods, 40, 3, 879-891, 2008.
[34]  Dutch Celiac Assosiation, Coeliakie? 2008 Retrieved from (15-9-2015):