Background: Living with food allergy has been found to adversely affect quality of life. Previous studies of the psychosocial impact of food allergy on caregivers have focused on mothers.
Objective: To describe differences in food allergy-related quality of life (FAQOL) and empowerment of mothers and fathers of a large cohort of children with food allergy.
Methods: Eight hundred seventy-six families of children with food allergy were studied. Food allergy was defined by stringent criteria, including reaction history, skin prick testing, and specific IgE. Parental empowerment and FAQOL were assessed by the adapted Family Empowerment and FAQOL-Parental Burden scales. Parental scores were compared by Wilcoxon signed rank test. Multiple regression models examined the association of parental empowerment with FAQOL.
Results: Mothers reported greater empowerment (P < .001) and lower FAQOL (P < .001) compared with fathers, regardless of allergen severity, type, or comorbidities. However, parental empowerment was not significantly associated with FAQOL for mothers or fathers. Although parents of children with peanut, cow milk, egg, and tree nut allergies were similarly empowered, milk and egg allergies were associated with lower FAQOL (P < .01). Parental concern in the QOL assessment was greatest for items involving fear of allergen exposure outside the home.
Conclusion: Parental empowerment and FAQOL vary significantly among mothers and fathers of children with food allergy. Greater effects on FAQOL were seen for milk and egg compared with other food allergies. Although parents of children with food allergy might be empowered to care for their child, they continue to experience impaired FAQOL owing to fears of allergen exposure beyond their control.
Copyright © 2015 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.