Addressing the psychological needs of families of food-allergic children
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- Klinnert, M.D. & Robinson, J.L. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep (2008) 8: 195. doi:10.1007/s11882-008-0033-7
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The increase in food allergies among US children has led to greater awareness of the psychological impact on their families. A variety of negative effects can result from both the daily strain of food-allergy management and the constant vigilance and fear that this condition engenders. Most of these effects are normal and expected responses to having a child with a demanding condition filled with uncertainties. However, a small but substantial proportion of families living with childhood food allergy experience significant psychological distress and/or maladaptive coping responses that interfere with the child’s psychological and social development and family members’ optimal functioning. Health care providers must be aware of the psychological challenges these families face, understand their role in helping families to achieve positive adaptation, and know when to encourage families to seek psychoeducational guidance.