Allergy management behaviours and sources of stress for schools and families living with life-threatening food allergies

Butler, Janice (2005) Allergy management behaviours and sources of stress for schools and families living with life-threatening food allergies. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The purpose of this study was to describe the approaches taken by individuals, families, and school staff to the management of life-threatening food allergies, and to describe the sources of stress associated with managing this condition. -- This was a cross-sectional descriptive study employing both quantitative and qualitative research methods using two instruments developed for the study. The principals from 40 randomly selected provincial schools were interviewed, as were 25 parents of children with food allergies attending schools in the province; 21 of the parents and 4 teens each also participated in one of four focus groups. -- The results suggested that the reported number of students with food allergies in provincial schools has increased. While most schools demonstrated a positive approach to managing students with food allergies, one-quarter of the schools studied had many deficiencies in allergy management that may contribute to negative outcomes for families living with this stressful condition. Balancing individual rights, feelings of uncertainty, and increased workload were sources of stress for principals. -- Many parents of children with life-threatening food allergies reportedly felt inadequately prepared by health professionals to safely manage their child's food allergy. Parents also identified inconsistent allergy management amongst schools in this province. The sources of stress for families included a perceived lack of control over allergies, inadequate public understanding and support, and the lack of reprieve from daily worries. -- The results of this study support the need for a comprehensive provincial school policy on food allergy management, improved education by health professionals for school staff and families living with food allergies, and a public education and awareness campaign to increase understanding about the challenges of living with food allergies.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 10240
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 156-166).
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Date: 2005
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Food allergy in children--Social aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador; Food allergy in children--Newfoundland and Labrador--Prevention; School management and organization--Newfoundland and Labrador.
Medical Subject Heading: Food Hypersensitivity--prevention & control--Newfoundland and Labrador; Schools--organization & administration--Newfoundland and Labrador; Child.

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