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Cummings AJ, Knibb RC, Erlewyn-Lajeunesse M, King RM, Roberts G, Lucas JS. Management of nut allergy influences quality of life and anxiety in children and their mothers. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2010 Jun;21(4 Pt 1):586-94
Nut allergy is known to impact on the quality of life (QoL) and anxiety of both the allergic child and their parents, but little is known about how the management of food allergy is associated with these variables. To investigate the impact of nut allergy on QoL and anxiety in mothers and children with nut allergy in order to identify management strategies that may influence these factors. Forty-one nut allergic children (age 6-16 yrs) and their mothers completed questionnaires to assess maternal and children’s QoL (PedsQL, WHOQOL-BREF, FAQL-PB), anxiety (SCAS, STAI) and perceived stress scale (PSS). Children also completed a nut allergy specific QoL questionnaire. Demographic data, details of previous reactions, test results and management plans were collected using parent-report questionnaires and hospital notes. Children with nut allergy had poorer emotional (p = 0.004), social (p = 0.043), and psychological (p = 0.006) QoL compared to healthy normative data. Maternal and child QoL and anxiety were not influenced by the severity of previous reactions. Mother and child reported lower anxiety (p = 0.043 and p < 0.001 respectively) when the child was prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector. Anxiety was not associated with whether the child carried the auto-injector or whether they strictly avoided traces of nuts in foods. Prescribing auto-injectors is associated with reduced anxiety for food allergic children and their mothers, but is not associated with improved adherence with medical management or reduced risk-taking behavior.