A Qualitative Study to Inform Development of a Behavioral Intervention to Promote Food Allergy Self-Management and Adjustment among Early Adolescents

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Clinical practice in pediatric psychology








adolescents; food allergy; qualitative


OBJECTIVE: Adolescence is a high-risk period for patients with food allergy (FA) as management responsibilities shift to the youth. This study used qualitative methods to explore FA experiences among a diverse pediatric FA population and inform behavioral intervention development. METHODS: A total of 26 adolescents ages 9-14 years with IgE-mediated FA ( age = 11.92 years; 62% male; 42% Black, 31% White, 12% Hispanic/Latinx) and 25 primary caregivers ( age = 42.57 years; 32% annual income > $100,000) were recruited from FA clinics to complete separate qualitative interviews about FA-related experiences. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and entered into Dedoose, a qualitative software program. A grounded theory qualitative analytic approach was used to analyze data. RESULTS: Emergent themes include: 1) FA is a chronic burden that affects daily life, 2) Families experience anxiety about FA, 3) Families find it challenging to transition FA management from parent to child, 4) FA families feel the need to be prepared, 5) FA families frequently advocate for their needs, and 6) Social experiences affect the FA experience. CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents with FA and their caregivers experience daily stress related to their chronic illness. A behavioral intervention that provides FA education, bolsters stress/anxiety management, assists parents in transitioning FA management responsibility to the youth, teaches executive functioning and advocacy skills, and fosters peer support could help adolescents successfully cope with and manage FA in their daily lives.


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences