Mothers' psychosocial functioning, parenting, and medical decision making related to children's food allergies and food challenges
Parents of children with food allergy are typically responsible for food allergy management and report that their child's condition impacts multiple aspects of family life Children with food allergy may undergo graded food challenges in a medical setting to determine if they can safely introduce the food back into their diet. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of food allergy on mothers' psychosocial functioning and parenting as well as to determine if it was possible to predict which mothers are most likely to decide not to undergo a food challenge. Seventy mothers of children with food allergy provided data regarding their feeling about their child's food allergy and food challenges. The primary hypotheses were not supported. However, this study revealed that mothers may be willing to endure an anxiety-provoking situation in order to eliminate future anxiety about allergic reactions, especially when they trust their physician will appropriately care for their children. This study also indicated that food challenges have a profound impact on mothers' anxiety about their children having allergic reactions in the future. Furthermore, mothers with a high education level tend to perceive a greater impact of food allergy on their daily lives than mothers with a low education level. Additional research should be conducted in order to further our understanding of the psychological aspects of food allergy and food challenges and to guide clinicians in their care of children with food allergy.
0451: Social psychology