Variations in quality of life among caregivers of food allergic children

Springston, E. E.; Smith, B.; Shulruff, J.; Pongracic, J.; Holl, J.; Gupta, R. S.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2010 Oct 12; 105(4):287-294

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Pediatric food allergy is a serious health problem in the United States. As the number of affected children increases, more caregivers are charged with the responsibility of managing their child's food allergy. OBJECTIVE: To better understand the impact of pediatric food allergy on caregiver quality of life. METHODS: As part of a larger project examining the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of caregivers with food allergic children, the Food Allergy Quality of Life-Parental Burden questionnaire was administered to a large sample of caregivers across the United States from January 1, 2008, to January 31, 2009. Findings were analyzed to describe caregiver quality of life and to examine the impact of the manifestation of food allergy on participant response. RESULTS: Data were collected from 1,126 caregivers. The impact of food allergy on caregiver quality of life varied widely with 1 exception: caregivers consistently reported being troubled by social limitations resulting from their child's food allergy. Poor quality of life was significantly more likely on a number of survey items among caregivers more knowledgeable about food allergy and among caregivers whose children had been to the emergency department for food allergy in the past year, had multiple food allergies, or were allergic to specific foods. CONCLUSIONS: Previous research has emphasized the negative impact of food allergy on caregiver quality of life. This study illustrates the diverse experience of caring for a child with food allergy and the importance of considering the manifestation of disease when evaluating parental burden.

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