Pediatric Food Allergies and Psychosocial Functioning: Examining the Potential Moderating Roles of Maternal Distress and Overprotection

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Objectives Identify factors associated with maternal perceptions of health-related quality of life (QoL) among youth with food allergies (FA), and identify maternal factors that may moderate relationships between FA-related challenges and child QoL. Methods In all, 533 mothers of children with FA completed measures assessing characteristics of their child’s FA, maternal perceptions of child QoL, maternal psychological distress, and maternal overprotection. Results FA severity, maternal psychological distress, and overprotection were significantly associated with maternal reports of poorer child functioning and/or poorer QoL among youth with FA. Hierarchical linear regression analyses showed an FA severity by maternal distress interaction in the prediction of child FA-related anxiety; children of higher stress mothers showed a stronger link between auto-injector use and anxiety than children of lower stress mothers. Conclusions When identifying youth with FA who are at risk for low QoL, it is important to assess history of FA-related challenges, parental psychological distress, and overprotection.

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