Presentation Abstract

Title: Bullying and Teasing In Children With Food Allergy: A Survey of Pediatric Patients In Urban Jackson, Mississippi Outpatient Allergy and Immunology Clinics
Presentation Time: Sunday, Mar 04, 2012, 2:30 PM - 2:45 PM
Author Block: A. E. Morris, A. B. Yates, G. D. Marshall, Jr.;
University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS.
Abstract: RATIONALE: A previous study found bullying to be common among food allergic patients attending Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network meetings. We are evaluating whether bullying children with food allergies occurs in our patient population, and if so, the characteristics of the bullying.
METHODS: Validated questionnaires are completed anonymously by food allergic children or their parents. Questionnaires assess characteristics of bullying, perpetrators, and resources to mitigate bullying. Subjects are from a primarily lower socioeconomic population of our University-based clinics.
RESULTS: Eighteen surveys have been completed. Those surveyed are between ages 6-12. A minority (6/18; 33.3%) have experienced bullying related to food allergies. Most episodes occurred at school and were perpetrated by classmates, although teachers, a teammate, and siblings were also implicated. Most bullying occurred in the form of verbal acts. Three of the respondents also reported physical acts of the allergen waved in their face, chased with the allergen, and being pushed, tripped, hit, or kicked. Half of those (3/6) bullied due to food allergies also experienced bullying for reasons cited such as size for age and having eczema. Eczema was also a source of bullying in two food allergic patients that denied bullying due to food allergies. Half of those bullied reported that their schools had programs to prevent bullying.
CONCLUSIONS: Although bullying in children with food allergies was not the predominant response in this initial sample, it creates emotional distress and possible physical risks for those experiencing bullying.

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