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J Psychosom Res. 2018 Jan;104:48-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.11.009. Epub 2017 Nov 15.

Food allergy: Children's symptom levels are associated with mothers' psycho-socio-economic variables.

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Departamento de Traumatología, Hospital Clínico Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile. Electronic address:
Sección de Medicina, Hospital Carlos Van Buren, Valparaiso, Chile.
Sección de Inmunología, VIH y Alergias, Hospital Clínico Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.



Allergies affect children's health as well as their quality of life, stress levels, and family budget. The available literature suggests that family, social and psychological factors are affected by allergic pathologies such as rhinitis, asthma and atopic dermatitis. However, few studies have focused on quantifying such association in child food allergy. This study aims to enhance the understanding of the associations between caregiver variables and children's Food Allergy (FA).


The study involved 206 participants: 103 mothers plus 103 children with IgE mediated FA. The analyses excluded two outliers comprising 101 subjects. For statistical analyses, each dyad -mother/child- was considered to be one subject unity. A between-subjects one-way ANOVA determined the association of children's cutaneous, gastric and respiratory symptoms with anxiety, depression, perceived social support and socioeconomic factors in the mothers.


There are significant associations between children's allergic symptoms (gastric and cutaneous) and mothers' psychological state (anxiety and depression); family budget; social interactions (with friends, family and partner); understanding of health care required by their child; and sleep disorders. Respiratory symptoms did not show any significant associations with the dependent variables.


FA is a process in which children's symptoms are significantly associated with socioeconomic and psychological variables of the mothers. The presence or absence of some specific symptoms is directly associated with specific impacts on the mothers. An understanding of such dynamics supports the consideration of a comprehensive and multidisciplinary therapeutic approach to offer more ecological healthcare for "families living with FA."


Childcare; Economic burden; Food allergy; Stress

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