Bullying among pediatric patients with food allergy

Jay Lieberman, Christopher Weiss, Terence J. Furlong, Mati Sicherer, Scott H. Sicherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background There are reports of children and teens with food allergy being harassed because of their food allergy, yet no study to date has attempted to characterize these occurrences. Objectives To determine the presence and characteristics of bullying, teasing, or harassment of food-allergic patients owing to their food allergies. Methods Questionnaires were completed by food-allergic teens and adults and by parents of food-allergic children. Results A total of 353 surveys were completed. Because most food-allergic individuals were children, most surveys were completed by parents of food-allergic individuals. The ages of the food-allergic individuals were younger than 4 years (25.9%), 4 to 11 years (55.0%), 12 to 18 years (12.5%), 19 to 25 years (2.6%), and older than 25 years (4.0%). Including all age groups, 24% of respondents reported that the food-allergic individual had been bullied, teased, or harassed because of food allergy. Of those who were bullied, teased, or harassed, 86% reported multiple episodes. Eighty-two percent of episodes occurred at school, and 80% were perpetrated mainly by classmates. Twenty-one percent of those who were bullied, teased, or harassed reported the perpetrators to be teachers or school staff. Overall, 79% of those bullied, teased, or harassed attributed this solely to food allergy. Of those bullied, 57% described physical events, such as being touched by an allergen and having an allergen thrown or waved at them, and several reported intentional contamination of their food with allergen. Conclusions Bullying, teasing, and harassment of children with food allergy seems to be common, frequent, and repetitive. These actions pose emotional and physical risks that should be addressed in food allergy management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-286
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Volume105
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

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Bullying
Food Hypersensitivity
Pediatrics
Food
Allergens
Parents
Food Contamination
Age Groups
Surveys and Questionnaires

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

Cite this

Bullying among pediatric patients with food allergy. / Lieberman, Jay; Weiss, Christopher; Furlong, Terence J.; Sicherer, Mati; Sicherer, Scott H.

In: Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Vol. 105, No. 4, 01.10.2010, p. 282-286.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lieberman, Jay ; Weiss, Christopher ; Furlong, Terence J. ; Sicherer, Mati ; Sicherer, Scott H. / Bullying among pediatric patients with food allergy. In: Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. 2010 ; Vol. 105, No. 4. pp. 282-286.
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