According to a new study, mothers of children with food allergies have a greater sense of empowerment than fathers, but they also report a lower food-allergy-related quality of life (FAQOL). In addition, parents of children with milk and egg allergies report a lower FAQOL than parents of children with peanut or tree nut allergies.
FARE provided partial funding for this multi-center study, which was published online in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology on Dec. 6.
The researchers studied the families of 876 children who met strict diagnostic criteria for food allergy. Most study participants (64 percent) were parents of boys who were two to five years old, with an average of one sibling per household. Most parents were married (95 percent) and 86 percent were college-educated.
Overall, a higher level of empowerment – defined as “a process through which people gain greater control of decisions and actions affecting their health” – was not associated with a higher quality of life. Not surprisingly, both mothers and fathers of children with a history of anaphylaxis reported a lower FAQOL than parents of children who had experienced only mild or moderate food allergy reactions.
“Although parents of children with food allergy might be empowered to care for their child, they continue to experience impaired FAQOL owing to fears of allergen exposure beyond their control,” the researchers concluded. “More work assessing mothers and fathers is needed to ascertain the degree to which these findings are due to personal experiences with daily caregiving, differences in clinical care or counseling received by families, or additional contextual factors.”
For resources to help parents manage food allergies, click here.