Risk taking and self-care behaviours amongst adolescents and young adults with food allergies

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Hannah Keohane
Caoimhe Cronin
Juan Trujillo


Adolescents, teenagers, food-allergy, behaviour, anaphylaxis


Background: Anaphylaxis is a systemic, life-threatening reaction and its prevalence is rising amongst adolescents and young adults (AYA) with food allergies. The likelihood of fatal anaphylaxis is disproportionately high in this population. The effective management of anaphylaxis can be done by adhering to various food allergy-related self-care behaviours, namely avoidance of allergens, carriage and use of adrenaline auto-injectors (AAI). Unfortunately, compliance of AYA to these behaviours is believed to be suboptimal and the likely reason behind their increased rates of fatal anaphylaxis.

Methodology: To evaluate the adherence to food allergy-related self-care behaviours amongst adolescents and young adults with anaphylaxis an electronic search was conducted utilizing PubMed, MEDLINE, and CINAHL plus to identify relevant studies. 175 article abstracts were screened, and 26 remained which were read in full to determine which best satisfied the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Ultimately, 10 articles were selected for this review.

Results: The compliance to food allergy-related self-care behaviours amongst AYA founded to be suboptimal. AAI design, peer influence, and emotional attitudes of AYA were found to be the most significant factors influencing AYA compliance to self-care behaviours.

Conclusions: The adherence of AYA to food allergy-related self-care behaviours is suboptimal and evidence on the factors affecting AYA compliance has been largely contradictory. AAI design, peer influence, and emotional attitudes are significant factors influencing AYA adherence. Therefore, further research directed at these factors is imperative in facilitating the design of guidelines to maximize the adherence of AYA to food allergy-related self-care behaviours.

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