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A Phenomenological Study of

The Impact of Food Allergies on Quality of Life

Food allergy, also referred to as food hypersensitivity, is an adverse reaction to a food or a substance in a food, causing the immune system to elicit a response (Bindslev-Jensen, 1998). Due to the varying reactions and symptoms from an allergic reaction, food-allergic individuals each have a unique experience. While substantial research on treatment for food allergies has been conducted, less consideration has been given to the mental health ramifications of living with this condition, among them depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, being bullied, and an overall poorer quality of life. This Phenomenological Study explores this research gap through an in-depth, unique, qualitative approach targeting the underrepresented group of Asian Americans in the field of food allergy and Quality of Life research.

Abstract Architecture

Research Question

To What Extent Do The Psychological Effects Of Food Allergies Impact The Perceived Quality Of Life Of Asian American Bay Area Students?

Data Collection

To situate participants’ lived experiences with food allergies, a three-interview series model was used. This is a prominent phenomenological approach to data collection that aligns with this study’s research method and design, aiming to optimize understanding and derive meaning from the experience.  The model consists of three semi-structured interviews. 

Phase I: Situate participants’ general lived experiences by exploring their background. 

Phase II: Pin down concrete details of the participant’s experience with the phenomenon under study.

Phase III: Reflective; encourages participants to think about how their QoL has changed or been impacted by the food allergy experience.

Image by Sarah Dorweiler

Data Analysis

Colaizzi's descriptive phenomenological method was used. This includes 7 steps, each of which are vital in constructing the meaning of one’s direct experience living with food allergies.

1) data familiarization

2) identification of significance statements

3) formulation of meanings

4) clustering themes

5) creating an exhaustive description

6) producing a fundamental structure

7) seeking verification of the fundamental structure

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