Health-related quality of life in children with celiac disease: a study based on the Critical Incident Technique

Nutrients. 2013 Nov 12;5(11):4476-85. doi: 10.3390/nu5114476.


Celiac Disease (CD) is a chronic autoimmune disease triggered by dietary gluten. Gluten avoidance, which is the only available treatment for CD, could impact on quality of life of children with CD. We present the results of a qualitative study on the emotional impact of gluten free diet (GFD) on the everyday life of children affected with CD. We investigated 76 celiac patients aged 2-18 years (average age: 9.5 years). By using the Critical Incident Technique (CIT), we defined emotions related to difficulties and awkward situations experienced by the patients. Written answers to open-ended questions from either children (older than 8 years) and parents (children younger than 8 years) were analyzed qualitatively. We found 80 dilemmas experienced in three different arenas (food situations at school, meals at home, meals outside) and characterized lived experiences of children with CD in everyday life (specific emotions, difficulties in relationships and in management of daily life). Children with CD experience strong emotions related to the GFD, permeating several aspects of everyday life. These dilemmas may be missed by a conventional, questionnaire-based approach to the psycho-social consequences of CD treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Celiac Disease / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Gluten-Free / psychology*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Glutens
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Meals / psychology*
  • Parents
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life*
  • Schools
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Glutens