Parental anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms in pediatric food allergy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore anxiety, worry, and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in parents of children with food allergies, and to evaluate whether these three psychological outcomes could be predicted by allergy severity, intolerance of uncertainty, and food allergy self-efficacy.

Methods: Participants were 105 parents who reported their children to have medically diagnosed food allergies. Participants were recruited to a study on parent wellbeing through an allergy clinic and social media advertisements. Participants completed online questionnaires assessing anxiety, worry, PTSS, intolerance of uncertainty, food allergy self-efficacy, and demographic and allergy information.

Results: In this sample, 81.0% of parents reported clinically significant worry, 42.3% met the clinical cut-off for PTSS, and 39.1% reported moderate-extremely severe anxiety. Greater intolerance of uncertainty and lower food allergy self-efficacy were associated with poorer psychological outcomes, with mixed results for allergy severity. However, intolerance of uncertainty was the only variable to consistently account for unique variance within regression models.

Conclusions: This study highlights the need for greater awareness of mental health in parents of children with food allergy. The study also indicates that factors impacting on parents’ perception of threat may be most strongly predictive of psychological outcomes, warranting further research. Finally, the study indicates that intolerance of uncertainty may be a promising target for psychological interventions within this population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688–697
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Volume46
Issue number6
Early online date11 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Keywords

  • allergy
  • anxiety
  • parents
  • posttraumatic stress
  • worry

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