Parents of children with food allergy report gaps in their knowledge and coping skills at the time of diagnosis. We evaluated whether an educational food allergy handbook could improve parental knowledge, confidence, and quality of life associated with food allergy management.
Parents of children newly diagnosed with food allergy (past 12 months) were randomly assigned to the intervention group (received the food allergy handbook following the baseline survey) or the control group (usual care, received the handbook only at study conclusion). Outcomes were assessed using online self-report questionnaires at baseline, 2-week follow-up, and 2-month follow-up.
Compared with the control group, parents in the intervention group demonstrated significantly greater improvement in knowledge at the 2-week (mean difference 2.92, 95% CI 2.20, 3.64, P < .001) and 2-month (mean difference 2.46, 95% CI 1.68, 3.25, P < .001) follow-ups, in confidence at the 2-week (mean difference .24, 95% CI .09, .39, P = .002) and 2-month (mean difference .47, 95% CI .30, .63, P < .001) follow-ups, and in quality of life at the 2-month follow-up (mean difference -.48, 95% CI -.79, -.16, P = .004). Mean satisfaction ratings for each section of the handbook ranged from 2.7 to 3.2 on a scale of 0 (not at all useful) to 4 (extremely useful), with modal ratings of 3 (very useful).
This educational handbook was effective in improving parental knowledge, confidence, and quality of life associated with food allergy management. It holds promise as a resource to supplement physician management of food allergy.