How mothers perceive infants with unspecific gastrointestinal symptoms suggestive of cow's milk allergy?

Acta Paediatr. 2014 May;103(5):524-8. doi: 10.1111/apa.12577.


Aim: To determine whether specific infant behavioural characteristics are present in children suspected of cow's milk allergy because of gastrointestinal symptoms.

Methods: We prospectively recruited 57 children (median age 8.7 months) with a suspicion of gastrointestinally manifested cow's milk protein allergy (GI-CMPA). None had detectable cow's milk-specific IgE. Mothers were asked to complete the Parenting Stress Index (PSI) Child Domain, and those with children below 18 months of age (n = 49) also the Infant Temperament Questionnaire (ITQ). GI-CMPA was diagnosed with the double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge. Control group (n = 22) consisted of patients (age range 4-26 months), attending the Pediatric Allergy Unit, who did not have diagnosed or suspected food allergies.

Results: The scores were significantly higher for the PSI (n = 48) Child Domain (p < 0.0001) and for the ITQ (n = 44) subscale Difficultness (p = 0.0045) compared with the control patients without suspected/diagnosed food allergy. The difference between the challenge positive (n = 18) and negative (n = 39) patients remained statistically insignificant. After 6 months, in both groups, the scores (PSI Child Domain p = 0.0004, ITQ Difficultness p = 0.0393) were lower, but the ITQ Difficultness score still remained higher than in the controls (p = 0.0453).

Conclusion: The mothers often perceive infants with unspecific symptoms suggestive of GI-CMPA as demanding and temperamentally difficult.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Milk / adverse effects*
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / psychology*
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Temperament*