Food Allergy-related Empowerment and Quality of Life in Parents of Kids with Food Allergy
In light of growing evidence for the negative impact of childhood food allergy on parental quality of life, this study attempted to determine: 1) If mothers and fathers differ in how empowered they feel they are to manage their child's food allergy? and 2) Whether parents who report greater empowerment also report greater quality of life? In short, our study of 850+ mothers and fathers of children with food allergy found that although mothers reported significantly greater empowerment than fathers to manage their child's allergy, they suffered significantly reduced quality of life. We found no association at all between empowerment and quality of life. When we looked at individual items of the quality of life scale, we found that the items that most adversely impacted quality of life all had to do with parental concern over accidental allergen exposure in the broader social environment where parents could not exert control over the situation (e.g. at school, daycare...etc). Interestingly, though increased parental empowerment did not predict increased quality of life in our sample we found that parents who reported adequate social and material support to manage their child's food allergy did in fact report significantly increased quality of life. This leads us to conclude that more needs to be done in settings like schools, daycares, restaurants, and hotels to help allay parental concern about potential allergen exposure. CLICK HERE to learn more about the study.