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Children's Food Allergies Impact Parents' Mental Well-Being

WEDNESDAY, March 17, 2021 -- Parents of children with food allergies face significant worry, severe anxiety, and posttraumatic stress, according to a study published online March 11 in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

Kate Roberts, Clin.Psy.D., from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom, and colleagues explored anxiety, worry, and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in 105 parents of children with medically diagnosed food allergies.

The researchers found that 81.0 percent of parents reported clinically significant worry, 42.3 percent met the clinical cutoff for PTSS, and 39.1 percent reported moderate-to-extremely severe anxiety. Poorer psychological outcomes were associated with greater intolerance of uncertainty and lower food allergy self-efficacy. Within regression models, intolerance of uncertainty was the only variable to consistently account for unique variance.

"This study highlights the need for greater awareness of mental health in parents of children with food allergy," the authors write. "Intolerance of uncertainty may be a promising target for psychological interventions within this population."

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