Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD; Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis) is an incurable autoimmune disease causing overwhelming physical distress and psychological adaptation. The negative disease symptoms effect all aspects of everyday life. The physical and biological burdens of the disease progression can be complicated and long-term. Not all patients have a positive outcome throughout their health journey. This dissertation is an exploration of the associations between an individual’s personal characteristics and life situation and the ability to function fully and achieve mastery of their health within the parameters of their disease burden. The first manuscript, Functional Mastery of Health Ownership: A Model for Optimum Health, provides an operational definition of functional mastery as it applies to patients with chronic illness or altered life situation, and sets the foundation for the dissertation study. The second manuscript, Health Stewardship: A Concept for Best Health Outcome, introduces the concept of individual responsibility for health as a path to optimum wellness that is intrinsic to achieving functional mastery. The primary research in the fourth chapter utilizes the Functional Mastery of Health Ownership (FMHO) model (Donnelley, 2017) to assess individual predictive influences that lead to the achievement of health mastery and optimum health in a patient population with IBD. The discovery of what causes some to succeed and others to not move forward is necessary to provide patients with tools to achieve wellness.

Date of publication

Spring 4-23-2018

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Susan Yarbrough, Dr. Ellen Fineout-Overholt, Dr. Danita Alfred, Dr. Christine Bradway


Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing