Link Found Between Food Allergies and Childhood Anxiety


July 13, 2017, News

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have found a link between food allergies and an increase in childhood anxiety.

The study, by researchers at Columbia University in collaboration with Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, included 80 pediatric patients age 4 to 12 with and without diagnosed food allergies and their caregivers from urban pediatric outpatient clinics in the Bronx.

Of the children with a food allergy, 57 percent reported symptoms of anxiety compared to 48 percent without food allergies. About 48 percent of the children had symptoms of depression regardless of food allergy diagnosis.

The results suggest that food allergy is particularly linked to elevated social anxiety and fear of social rejection and humiliation. The researchers also point out a possible explanation for not finding a link between food allergy and depression in children. The sample was young, and the mean age of onset for depression is significantly later than anxiety. “It would be worthwhile to examine these relationships among older adolescents and young adults with food allergy who are at the peak of risk for depression onset, especially because early anxiety is associated with increased risk for subsequent onset of depression,” said Jonathan Feldman, PhD, professor at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Read the full article about this study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The study was published in the June edition of The Journal of Pediatrics. Read the abstract here.

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