Parenting a Food-Allergic Child: Mental Health Impacts on Fathers

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Scheuer, Candace
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This paper consists of an analysis of four quantitative, five qualitative, and one mixed-methods study on the mental health impacts on fathers of raising children with life-threatening food allergies. As increasingly more children are diagnosed with food allergy, the mental health consequences touch more families. Counsellors, consequently, will increasingly be tasked with helping families to manage this condition. Understanding the experience of fathers will enable counsellors to provide interventions that improve mental health outcomes, not only for fathers, but also for all members of the family system. Researchers have found that, like mothers, food-allergy fathers experience anxiety, depression, and traumatic stress from witnessing or treating anaphylaxis. However, despite their fears for the safety of their food-allergic children and their own mental health struggles, fathers are willing to take risks to enhance their family's quality of life. Food-allergy fathers are also becoming increasingly involved in caregiving activities to nurture the development of their children, although it can negatively impact their mental health. The findings of this capstone will enable counsellors to consider the entire family system to provide interventions and will facilitate a collaborative approach to supporting food-allergy families.
food allergy , anaphylaxis , parenting , fathers , pediatric food allergy , milk allergy , nut allergy , peanut allergy , egg allergy