Surgeons are generally optimistic about achieving good results in appropriate cases with the surgical management of ulcerative colitis in children. Individual contact with surgeons as well as their reports in the literature substantiate these results. Presumably this includes an improvement in the child's emotional state and ability to function as a result of removing his diseased organ and his no longer being chronically sick. If the surgeons' clinical experience and judgment is valid, it would seem of interest to examine more carefully the psychological basis for these good results. This has not been reported on previously in the literature to our knowledge.
An opportunity presented itself to study this question when two boys with ulcerative colitis, who were being seen in psychiatric treatment by the psychiatrist (L. C.), required surgical treatment. Both boys underwent the standard two-stage operation: stage 1: ileostomy and subtotal colectomy; stage 2: abdominoperineal resection. Both boys