Parents of Children With Food Allergy: Gender Differences in Perceived Impact and Perceived Food Allergy Severity

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Abstract

Objective

To compare fathers' and mothers' perceptions of the impact and severity of their child's food allergy and their levels of involvement in allergy-related care.

Methods

One hundred parents of children with food allergy (50 mother-father pairs) rated the severity of their child's food allergies and completed the Food Allergy Impact Scale. A subset of 52 parents reported how often they engaged in food allergy-related care.

Results

Mothers reported more impact than fathers for meal preparation, family social activities, and stress and free time, and significantly greater involvement in allergy-related care. Fathers who reported more frequent medical appointment attendance perceived meal preparation as being significantly more impacted by food allergy than fathers who were less involved.

Conclusions

Fathers who are less involved may be buffered from experiencing the impact of their child's health condition. Differences in involvement rather than other gender differences may explain discrepancies in mothers' and fathers' illness perceptions.

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