LeBovidge JS, Timmon K, Rich C, et al. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008;101(2):160–165
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY. To assess whether a group intervention designed for children with food allergy and their parents could improve parent-perceived competence and decrease parent-perceived burden in coping with food allergy.
STUDY POPULATION. Food-allergic, English-speaking children 5 to 7 years of age, without developmental disabilities, and their parents were recruited if they visited an allergist through the Children's Hospital Boston in the year before the study.
METHODS. After consent was obtained, questionnaires were completed by the parents before the workshop, immediately after the workshop, and 4 to 8 weeks after the workshop. Parents completed the Family Coping with Food Allergy Questionnaire, which assesses perceived competence, and the Food Allergy Quality of Life-Parental Burden Questionnaire, which assesses the perceived burden in having a child with food allergy. Parents and children completed evaluations of the workshop as well. The workshop was 3.5 hours in length, with parent groups run by a pediatric psychologist and a pediatric allergist or pediatric nurse practitioner. There were presentations regarding various topics related to food allergy, followed by a group discussion. Child life specialists led the groups for children, which were aimed at providing a safe environment for children to express their feelings regarding food allergies and increasing confidence in management skills.
RESULTS. Sixty-one children and their parents were included in the study sample. Seventy-eight percent of participants showed improvement in competence scores from before the workshop to after the workshop (P < .001), and 74% showed improvement from before the workshop to the follow-up evaluation (P < .001). In addition, 63% of participants demonstrated a significant decrease in parent-perceived burden from before the workshop to the follow-up evaluation (P = .002).
CONCLUSIONS. This study provides preliminary support for the effectiveness of a half-day workshop in reducing parent-perceived burden and increasing parent-perceived competence in coping with children with food allergies.
REVIEWER COMMENTS. This study is a good start in identifying factors that can improve the quality of life of our families with food allergies. We need larger studies with more-diverse patient populations and control groups to identify which factors are most helpful and to determine whether the findings are clinically significant.
- Copyright © 2009 by the American Academy of Pediatrics