Students with a Food Allergy: College Adjustment and Allergy Disclosure
Nearly one in 12 children are diagnosed with at least one food allergy and the prevalence rate of the chronic condition has been increasing in recent decades. Previous research has indicated that managing a food allergy can have significant psychological impacts, including detriments to health-related quality of life (HRQL). Attention has primarily focused on the experience of living with a food allergy in childhood, but empirical research has been sparse on emerging adults and the transition to independent living. The purpose of the present study was to explore predictors of college adjustment for residential college students with food allergies, as well as factors that influence their allergy disclosure. College students (N=93) aged 18-25 completed an online survey examining HRQL, perceived allergy severity, social support, college adjustment, comfort with allergy disclosure, and perceived allergy disclosure consequences. Results indicated that social support was the strongest predictor for college adjustment, comfort with allergy disclosure, and perceived allergy disclosure consequences. HRQL and perceived allergy severity were significant predictors, such that perceived allergy severity predicted college adjustment and perceived disclosure consequences, whereas HRQL predicted comfort with disclosure. Results provide unequivocal evidence that strong social support from varied sources is essential for this population in the transition to independent living and new challenges in college. Implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Southwick, Caroline, "Students with a Food Allergy: College Adjustment and Allergy Disclosure" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28415331.