The role of parent perception of burden on child health related quality of life : examining functioning among children with food allergy.
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Recently rates of Food Allergies (FA) in children have been increasing in prevalence.
International research has shown FA is associated with impaired Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) as well as increased anxiety in both children and parents of children with FA. This was the first study to examine FA-specific factors with psychological variables in New Zealand children with FA. The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between FA severity and child HRQoL, as well as to investigate moderating variables, such as parent anxiety and parental burden associated with FA and child HRQoL. The sample consisted of 154 children with FA and their caregivers, recruited though social media and email newsletters. Caregivers completed questionnaires assessing demographics, FA characteristics, child and parent measures of anxiety, child reported and parent reported child HRQoL, and disease burden.
It was hypothesised that (1) children with FA would report lower levels of HRQoL compared to healthy controls (2) children with multiple FA would report poorer HRQoL compared to children with one or two FA’s (3) FA severity would be associated with low levels of child HRQoL (4) primary caregiver’s anxiety would moderate the relationship between FA and HRQoL (5) primary caregiver’s sense of perceived burden would moderate the relationship between FA and HRQoL.
Results indicated that (1) children with FA exhibited significantly poorer HRQoL compared to healthy children; (2) children with multiple allergies did not report significantly poorer HRQoL compared to children with one or two FA’s; (3) higher FA severity predicted poorer child HRQoL as reported by parents but not children; (4) the association between FA severity and child HRQoL was not moderated by caregiver anxiety; and (5) the association between FA severity and HRQoL was not moderated by parent burden. These findings suggest that children with FA and their caregivers in New Zealand should be considered vulnerable to increased anxiety, especially if the child has a severe FA. Finally, these findings may help inform future clinical efforts that are specifically designed to reduce caregiver sense of burden, as well as caregiver stress and anxiety, among families with FA.