Perceived History of Anaphylaxis and Parental Overprotection, Autonomy, Anxiety, and Depression in Food Allergic Young Adults

  • Linda J. HerbertEmail author
  • Lynnda M. Dahlquist


This study examined autonomy, anxiety, depression, and perceptions of parental behavior in 86 food allergic young adults and 344 healthy young adults between the ages of 18 and 22. Participants completed an online survey measuring self-reported autonomy, anxiety, depression, and perceptions of parental behavior. Results indicated that, as a group, food allergic young adults did not differ from healthy peers. However, food allergic young adults who reported having experienced an anaphylactic reaction described their disease as more severe, reported more worry about their disease, and rated their parents as more overprotective than food allergic young adults who reported never having experienced anaphylaxis. The experience of anaphylaxis may be a reliable indicator of food allergic individuals who are at risk for psychological distress.


Food allergy Anaphylaxis Overprotection Anxiety Depression 


  1. Allen, J. P., Hauser, S. T., Bell, K. L., & O’Connor, T. G. (1994a). Longitudinal assessment of autonomy and relatedness in adolescent-family interactions as predictors of adolescent ego development and self-esteem. Child Development, 65, 179–194. doi: 10.2307/1131374.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, J. P., Hauser, S. T., Eickholt, C., Bell, K. L., & O’Connor, T. G. (1994b). Autonomy and relatedness in family interactions as predictors of expression of negative adolescent affect. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 4, 535–552. doi: 10.1207/s15327795jra0404_6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, D. L., Flume, P. A., & Hardy, K. K. (2001). Psychological functioning of adults with cystic fibrosis. Chest, 119, 1079–1084. doi: 10.1378/chest.119.4.1079.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Avery, N. J., King, R. M., Knight, S., & Hourihane, J. O. (2003). Assessment of quality of life in children with peanut allergy. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, 14, 378–382. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-3038.2003.00072.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barber, M. S., Scott, M. B., & Greenberg, E. (2001). The parent’s guide to food allergies: Clear and complete advice from the experts on raising your food-allergic child. New York: Henry Holt and Company.Google Scholar
  6. Beck, A. T., Epstein, N., Brown, G., & Steer, R. A. (1988). An inventory for measuring clinical anxiety: Psychometric properties. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 893–897. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.56.6.893.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bogels, S. M., & van Melick, M. (2004). The relationship between child-report, parent self-report, and partner report of perceived parental rearing behaviors and anxiety in children and parents. Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 1583–1596. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2004.02.014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bollinger, M. E., Dahlquist, L. M., Mudd, K., Sonntag, C., Dillinger, L., & McKenna, K. (2006). The impact of food allergy on the daily activities of children and their families. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 96, 415–421.Google Scholar
  9. Bornstein, R. F. (1997). Long-term retest reliability of Interpersonal Dependency Inventory scores in college students. Assessment, 4, 359–364.Google Scholar
  10. Bornstein, R. F., Bowers, K. S., & Bonner, S. (1996). Relationships of objective and projective dependency scores to sex role orientation in college students. Journal of Personality Assessment, 66, 555–568. doi: 10.1207/s15327752jpa6603_6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Coss, L. M. (2004). How to manage your child’s life-threatening food allergies: Practical tips for everyday life. Lake Forest, CA: Plumtree Press.Google Scholar
  12. Ewan, P. W. (1996). Clinical study of peanut and nut allergy in 62 consecutive patients: New features and associations. British Medical Journal, 312, 1074–1078.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Fleischer, D. M., Conover-Walker, M. K., Matsui, E. C., & Wood, R. A. (2005). The natural history of tree nut allergy. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 116, 1087–1093. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2005.09.002.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Franko, D. L., Striegel-Moore, R. H., Bean, J., Tamer, R., Kraemer, H. C., Dohm, F., et al. (2005). Psychosocial and health consequences of adolescent depression in black and white young adult women. Health Psychology, 24, 586–593. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.24.6.586.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Garrison, W. T., & McQuiston, S. (1989). Chronic illness during childhood and adolescence: Psychological aspects. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. Gowland, M. H. (2001). Food allergen avoidance—the patient’s viewpoint. Allergy, 56, 117–120. doi: 10.1034/j.1398-9995.2001.00934.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Greenberger, E. (1984). Defining psychosocial maturity in adolescence. Advances in Child Behavioral Analysis and Therapy, 3, 1–37.Google Scholar
  18. Grundy, J., Matthews, S., Bateman, B., Dean, T., & Arshad, S. H. (2002). Rising prevalence of allergy to peanut in children: Data from 2 sequential cohorts. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 110, 784–789. doi: 10.1067/mai.2002.128802.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Helgeson, V. S., Synder, P. R., Escobar, O., Siminerio, L., & Becker, D. (2007). Comparison of adolescents with and without diabetes on indices of psychosocial functioning for three years. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32, 794–806. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsm020.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hirschfeld, R. M. A., Klerman, G. L., Gough, H. G., Barrett, J., Korchin, S. J., & Chodoff, P. (1977). A measure of interpersonal dependency. Journal of Personality Assessment, 41, 610–618. doi: 10.1207/s15327752jpa4106_6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Holmbeck, G. N., Johnson, S. Z., Wills, K. E., McKernon, W., Rose, B., Erklin, S., et al. (2002). Observed and perceived parental overprotection in relation to psychosocial adjustment in preadolescents with a physical disability: The mediational role of behavioral autonomy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 96–110. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.70.1.96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hourihane, J. (1997). Peanut allergy: Current status and future challenges. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 27, 1240–1246. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.1997.tb01167.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lyons, A. C., & Forde, E. M. E. (2004). Food allergy in young adults: Perceptions and psychological effects. Journal of Health Psychology, 9, 497–504. doi: 10.1177/1359105304044032.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Manassis, K., Owens, M., Adam, K. S., West, M., & Sheldon-Keller, A. E. (1999). Assessing attachment: Convergent validity of the Adult Attachment Interview and the Parent Bonding Instrument. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 33, 559–567. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1614.1999.00560.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Masia, C. L., Mullen, K. B., & Scotti, J. R. (1998). Peanut allergy in children: Psychological issues and clinical considerations. Education and Treatment of Children, 21, 514–542.Google Scholar
  26. Mesarosova, M., & Ostro, A. (2005). Psychological responses to cancer among female patients with malignant and benign breast disease. Studia Psychologica, 47, 91–102.Google Scholar
  27. Mullins, R. J. (2003). Anaphylaxis: Risk factors for recurrence. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 33, 1033–1040. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2222.2003.01671.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Noll, R. B., Kozlowski, K., Gerhardt, C., Vannatta, K., Taylor, J., & Passo, M. (2000). Social, emotional, and behavioral functioning of children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 43, 2235–2240. doi:10.1002/1529-0131(200006)43:6<1387::AID-ANR24>3.0.CO;2-C.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Osman, A., Kooper, B., Barrios, F., Osman, J., & Wade, T. (1997). The Beck Anxiety Inventory: Reexamination of factor structure and psychometric properties. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 53, 7–14.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Parker, G. (1990). The Parental Bonding Instrument: A decade of research. Social Psychiatry. Sozialpsychiatrie. Psychiatrie Sociale, 25, 281–282.Google Scholar
  31. Parker, G., Tupling, H., & Brown, L. B. (1979). A Parental Bonding Instrument. The British Journal of Medical Psychology, 52, 1–10.Google Scholar
  32. Primeau, M. N., Kagan, R., Joseph, L., Lim, H., Dufresne, C., Duffy, C., et al. (2000). The psychological burden of peanut allergy as perceived by adults with peanut allergy and the parents of peanut-allergic children. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 30, 1135–1143. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2222.2000.00889.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Radloff, L. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 3, 385–401. doi: 10.1177/014662167700100306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ryan, R. M., Deci, E. L., & Grolnick, W. S. (1995). Autonomy, relatedness, and the self: Their relation to development and psychopathology. In D. Chicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology, Vol. 1: Theory and methods (pp. 618–655). Oxford, England: Wiley.Google Scholar
  35. Scharloo, M., & Kaptein, A. (1997). Measurement of illness perceptions in patients with chronic somatic illness: A review. In K. J. Petrie & J. A. Weinman (Eds.), Perceptions of health and illness: Current research and applications (pp. 103–154). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Harwood Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  36. Sicherer, S. H. (2006). Understanding and managing your child’s food allergies. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Sicherer, S. H., Noone, S. A., & Munoz-Furlong, A. (2001). The impact of childhood food allergy on quality of life. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 87, 461–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stanwyk, D. J. (1983). Self-esteem through the life span. Family and Community Health, 6, 11–28.Google Scholar
  39. Thomasgard, M., & Metz, W. P. (1993). Parental overprotection revisited. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 24, 67–80. doi: 10.1007/BF02367260.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Thune-Boyle, I. C. V., Myers, L. B., & Newman, S. P. (2006). The role of illness beliefs, treatment beliefs, and perceived severity of symptoms in explaining distress in cancer patients during chemotherapy treatment. Behavioral Medicine (Washington D.C.), 32, 19–29. doi: 10.3200/BMED.32.1.19-29.Google Scholar
  41. Van Voorhees, B. W., Fogel, T. K., Houston, T. K., Cooper, L. A., Wang, N., & Ford, D. E. (2005). Beliefs and attitudes associated with the intention to not accept the diagnosis of depression among young adults. Annals of Family Medicine, 3, 38–46. doi: 10.1370/afm.273.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wallander, J. L., Thompson, R. J., & Alriksson-Schmidt, A. (2003). Psychosocial adjustment of children with chronic physical conditions. In M. C. Roberts (Ed.), Handbook of pediatric psychology (Vol. 3, pp. 141–158). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  43. Weissman, M. M., Sholomskas, D., Pottenger, M., Prusoff, B. A., & Locke, B. Z. (1977). Assessing depressive symptoms in five psychiatric populations: A validation study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 106, 203–214.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Wilhelm, K., Niven, H., Parker, G., & Hadsi-Palovic, D. (2005). The stability of the Parental Bonding Instrument over a 20-year period. Psychological Medicine, 35, 387–393. doi: 10.1017/S0033291704003538.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wood, R. A. (2003). The natural history of food allergy. Pediatrics, 111, 1631–1637.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Young, M. C. (2001). The peanut allergy answer book. Gloucester, MA: Fair Winds Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Maryland Baltimore CountyBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.BaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations