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This study explored predictors of food allergy management in college students, including participants' reported allergy severity, history of allergic reactions, and allergy knowledge. Further, we compared allergy knowledge in participants with food allergy to a matched sample of college students without food allergy. Method: Participants were recruited from a larger nationwide study of knowledge and attitudes toward food allergy in college students, with purposeful oversampling of students with food allergies. Participants completed measures assessing their food allergy(ies), symptoms, history of reactions, and current allergy management behaviors. Participants with food allergies and control participants without food allergies completed a measure of food allergy knowledge. Results: Hierarchical regression revealed that food allergy knowledge accounted for an additional 20% of variance in students' allergy management behaviors, above and beyond severity and allergic reactions, R2=.39, F(3,48)=10.09, p<.001. There was not a statistically significant difference in food allergy knowledge between participants with food allergy and matched controls, t(49)=-1.85, p=.07, 95% CI=-1.42 to 0.06. Conclusions: This study suggests allergy knowledge is an important factor in food allergy management. Knowledge significantly predicted food allergy management behaviors above and beyond food allergy severity and recent food allergy reactions. College students with food allergies did not demonstrate greater knowledge than controls, suggesting a need for psychoeducational intervention to target college students' allergy knowledge as they transition to independent allergy management.


Alix M McLaughlin, Taylor Macaulay, Catherine C Peterson. College students' knowledge and management of food allergies. Journal of American college health : J of ACH. 2021 Aug-Sep;69(6):610-616

PMID: 31944900

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