Studies have identified that food allergy (FA) in children is related to poor parental quality of life (QoL) and mental health. Furthermore, there is evidence that QoL may be lower for parents of children with FA than parents of children with other chronic health conditions. However, there is a paucity of evidence exploring psychological factors associated with QoL and burden of parents of children with FA which this study aims to address.
Baseline data from a randomised controlled trial of an online self-help intervention for parents of children with FA were used for the analysis. Demographics in addition to the dependent variable (Food Allergy Quality of Life-Parental Burden (FAQL-PB)) and independent variables (depression, anxiety, stress, intolerance of uncertainty and self-efficacy) were collected.
A total of 205 parents completed the baseline questionnaires (97% female, mean age 38.95 years (SD=6.89)). Initial analysis revealed that all independent variables significantly correlated with FAQL-PB (ps<.001). Stepwise multiple regression was used to determine if all proposed psychological factors significantly contributed to FAQL-PB. The results of the regression indicated that two psychological factors contributed to 37.1% variance in FAQL-PB (R2=.37, F(2,202)=61.07, p<.001). It was found that anxiety significantly contributed to FAQL-PB (β=.39, p<.001) as did self-efficacy (β=-.38, p<.001). Depression, stress and intolerance of uncertainty were not found to contribute to variance explained.
This study identifies that parental generalised anxiety and inadequate feelings of self-efficacy associated with poorer QoL and burden for parents of children with FA. Surprisingly, depression, stress and intolerance of uncertainty were not found to be related to parental QoL and burden indicating that interventions should be targeted at improving anxious and efficacious thoughts and behaviours. This is particularly important given the evidence that parental anxiety related to anaphylaxis can be transferred to the child which may affect the child’s longer-term outcomes if not addressed.