Evaluating a handbook for parents of children with food allergy: a randomized clinical trial
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BACKGROUND: Educational materials are needed to support parent management of and coping with childhood food allergy. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate whether a food allergy handbook can improve parental knowledge, confidence, and quality of life associated with the management of food allergy. METHODS: Participants included 153 parents of children diagnosed as having food allergy within the past 12 months who were recruited from hospital-based allergy clinics and food allergy organizations. Parents were randomly assigned to receive the food allergy handbook either after a baseline survey (handbook group) or at the conclusion of study participation (control group). Outcomes were assessed using online surveys at baseline, 2-week follow-up, and 2-month follow-up. RESULTS: Compared with parents in the control group, parents in the handbook group had significantly greater improvement in knowledge at the 2-week (mean difference, 2.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.20-3.64; P < .001) and 2-month (mean difference, 2.46; 95% CI, 1.68-3.25; P < .001) follow-ups, significantly greater improvement in confidence at the 2-week (mean difference, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.09-0.39; P = .002) and 2-month (mean difference, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.30-0.63; P < .001) follow-ups, and significantly greater improvement in quality of life at the 2-month follow-up (mean difference, -0.48; 95% CI, -0.79 to -0.16; P = .004). Parents reported satisfaction with the content the handbook, with mean ratings of individual sections ranging from 2.7 to 3.2 on a 0- to 4-point scale and modal ratings of 3 (very useful). CONCLUSIONS: The food allergy handbook evaluated in this study is an effective parent resource to supplement physician management of food allergy. TRIAL REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01914978.
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