PURPOSE OF THE STUDY.
To better understand the relationship between pediatric food allergy and caregiver quality of life.
Caregivers of food-allergic children were recruited through targeted Web pages on food-allergy resource and social media sites to complete an anonymous Web-based Food Allergy Quality of Life-Parental Burden (FAQL-PB) questionnaire.
Caregivers completed the validated FAQL-PB questionnaire to measure the effect of food allergy on caregiver health-related quality of life. This focused on areas most affected including family/social activities, health, and emotional concerns. To assess caregiver knowledge and the child's history of food allergy, they also completed the validated Chicago Food Allergy Research Survey for Parents. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate how troublesome different aspects of quality of life were for them (minimally, moderately, or extremely troubled).
Data were compiled from 1126 caregivers across the United States. Of these caregivers, 90.1% were white, 95.0% were female, and 75.3% had a 4-year college degree or more. There was wide variation in the impact of food allergy on caregiver quality of life with the exception of consistency of caregivers feeling troubled with regard to social limitations resulting from their child's food allergy. Poor quality of life was associated with caregivers being more knowledgeable about food allergies and being familiar with epinephrine administration and the child having had food-allergy–related emergency department visits in the previous year, having multiple food allergies, and having milk or wheat allergy (versus not).
Caregiver quality of life varies greatly; however, severity, the number of food allergies, and specific food allergies to milk or wheat were associated with lower caregiver quality of life.
Although this study had limitations including the uniform, educated, upper-income population and the lack of information regarding the time since the food-allergy diagnosis, there are clear lessons to be learned. As physicians, we need to support families, address their concerns, and discuss ways to minimize risk while allowing social interactions.
- Copyright © 2011 by the American Academy of Pediatrics