Managing the psychological impact of food allergies on our children during the first years is just as critical as making sure the don’t eat a peanut or an egg. Having a better understanding of possible emotional issues arms parents and caregivers with knowledge to identify when a problem arises.
I was honored to have Dr. Linda Herbert as a guest to discuss her research. I read about Dr. Herbert’s work and knew I needed to have her on the show. Her clinical review Clinical Management of Psychosocial Concerns Related to Food Allergy opened my eyes to ways that my son and my whole family was suffering as we came to terms with his life threatening food allergies.
More about Dr. Herbert:
Dr. Herbert is on the forefront of food allergy research. Dr. Linda Jones Herbert received her PhD from the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Human Services Psychology program in 2011. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology & Behavioral Health at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC, where she is the Director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology’s Psychosocial Services Program.
Dr. Herbert is an NIH-funded clinical researcher, whose research interests include the identification of medical and psychosocial factors related to youth adjustment to pediatric food allergies, the development of clinical interventions for youth with food allergies and their families that support anxiety management and adherence to food allergy guidelines, and the implementation of mental health screening in tertiary medical clinics. Dr. Herbert regularly speaks at child health community events as a volunteer for FARE, a national non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of children with food allergies and their families, and presents her research at national conferences.
Abstract from Clinical Management of Psychosocial Concerns Related to Food Allergy: Current estimates indicate that 4% to 8% of children in the United States are diagnosed with food allergy, and more than 40% of US children with food allergy experience severe allergic reactions. Families trying to avoid foods that may trigger an allergic reaction and ensure adequate treatment of allergic reactions that do occur face numerous challenges. The rise in the number of children diagnosed with food allergies underscores the importance of food allergy-related interventions to address elevated psychosocial concerns, such as parenting stress, anxiety, and worries about bullying. This review provides an overview of common psychosocial concerns among children with food allergy and their families across the developmental spectrum, and offers guidance to medical providers regarding the identification and treatment of food allergy-related psychosocial challenges.