Psychosocial Aspects of Food Allergy Among Adolescents (Webinar Recording and Recap)

Linda Herbert, Ph.D., presented Psychosocial Aspects of Food Allergy Among Adolescents, July 13, 2016, as part of FARE’s free monthly webinar series.  Dr. Herbert is an assistant professor in the Division of Psychology and Behavioral Health at Children’s National Health System, Washington, D.C. She also is the director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology’s psychosocial clinical program, for which she coordinates outpatient consultation and therapy services.

Dr. Herbert started her presentation by describing how a pediatric psychologist like herself can be involved in the lives of children/teens with food allergies, including attending oral food challenges, consulting with others on the medical team, and addressing the emotions that often accompany living with food allergies, like anger, anxiety and sadness.

The main focus of Dr. Herbert’s talk was addressing why raising a teenager with allergies is difficult and how to cope with some of the challenges that come with it.

  • The teen years are a time of sensation-seeking. Teens are more apt to engage in risky behavior to gain peer acceptance and gain autonomy from parents.
  • During adolescence, there is also a shift in responsibilities from parent to teen, and there may be disagreements in how this is done.
  • Teens may be hesitant to tell others about their food allergies, won’t read labels and/or do not want to carry epinephrine.

Dr. Herbert went over some solutions to helping teens with food allergies deal with anxiety, talk with their peers, address bullying, and transition to self-management of their allergies. She then walked through several case examples.

Be sure to join our next free webinar on July 27, “Students with Food Allergies and Disability Laws: High School to College.”

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