BackgroundFood allergy affects quality of life in patients and parents and mothers report high levels of anxiety and stress. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) may be helpful in reducing the psychological impact of food allergy. The aim of this study was to examine the appropriateness and effectiveness of CBT to improve psychological outcomes in parents of children with food allergy.
MethodsFive parents (all mothers) from a local allergy clinic requested to have CBT; six mothers acted as controls and completed questionnaires only. CBT was individual and face-to face and lasted 12 weeks. All participants completed measures of anxiety and depression, worry, stress, general mental health, generic and food allergy specific quality of life at baseline and at 12 weeks.
ResultsAnxiety, depression and worry in the CBT group significantly reduced and overall mental health and QoL significantly improved from baseline to 12 weeks (all p < 0.05) in mothers in the CBT group; control group scores remained stable.
ConclusionsCBT appears to be appropriate and effective in mothers of children with food allergy and a larger randomised control trial now needs to be conducted. Ways in which aspects of CBT can be incorporated into allergy clinic visits need investigation.