METHODS: Twenty-five children diagnosed with food allergy (M Age=11.32 yrs; SD=1.52; 56% female; 36% Caucasian) and their parents were recruited from allergy clinics at two mid-Atlantic children’s hospitals to complete the Food Allergy Bullying Questionnaire. Children answered a yes/no question about FA bullying and completed a checklist of FA bullying behaviors they had experienced. Parents answered yes/no questions about whether or not their child had experienced FA bullying or reported FA bullying to them. Frequencies were calculated for each item.
RESULTS: Five children (20%) reported they had experienced FA bullying on the yes/no question. An additional five children (20%) endorsed FA bullying behavior on the checklist, despite reporting they had not experienced FA bullying on the yes/no question. Only two parent-child dyads agreed regarding FA bullying experiences. Seven parents (28%) reported that their child had experienced FA bullying, yet only two of these children reported bullying on either the yes/no question or the checklist.
CONCLUSIONS: Children’s reports of FA bullying varied based on the way that bullying was assessed. Parent and child reports were not consistent. Simply asking whether or not patients are bullied for FA may not provide sufficient information regarding their peer experiences. Clinicians may need to use a more nuanced approach that broadly assesses peer experiences.