Food Allergy-Related Anxiety and Quality of Life in Parents and Children Transitioning to School
Saturday, March 3, 2018
South Hall A2 (Convention Center)
Ashika Odhav, MD, Bruce J. Lanser, MD, Nathan Rabinovitch, MD MPH
RATIONALE: Parental anxiety related to food allergy (FA) increases during their child’s transition to school. We hypothesized that by educating parents about multiple facets of FA, parental anxiety will decrease resulting in improved quality of life (QOL) for parent and child. This is the first study to evaluate child anxiety in this age group.

METHODS: We initiated a pilot study of 40 parents of food allergic children entering prekindergarten, kindergarten, or first grade in 2017. Parents completed an online questionnaire including the Food Allergy Impact Measure and Food Allergy Quality of Life Questionnaire Parental Form to assess QOL and anxiety before and after viewing an educational internet-based learning module.

RESULTS: An initial sample of 7 responses were reviewed at time of submission (recruitment ongoing). 71% of these parents report that their child’s social activities are limited because of their FA. Factors impacting parental anxiety include a prior history of anaphylaxis in their child, need for epinephrine, and the presence of multiple FAs. All parents expressed a preference for education through an internet-based module compared to other educational methods.

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of parents of food-allergic children entering school experience anxiety that they feel can be helped by learning more about FA. This has led to the development of an internet-based learning module about the risks of FA reactions and precautions to avoid and manage food-related reactions in school, to alleviate parental anxiety. We will implement and evaluate the module’s effectiveness in reducing anxiety and improving QOL for these families.