Objective No specific HRQL questionnaire are now available for adolescents suffering from food allergy. The aim of our study was to describe the development of a new tool for this purpose.
Methods A pool of 32 items was generated based on the following sources: 1) recent literature review; 2) discussion with expert allergists and pediatricians; c) unstructured interviews with patients. The items concerned both the burden of symptoms and the limitations/problems related to food allergy. The items were randomly listed and administered to patients who had to indicate which of the 32 items selected they had directly experienced and the importance of each selected item on a four-point scale (1 = not important; 4 = very important).
Results 113 adolescents between 11 and 23 years old (58 girls and 55 boys) filled in the questionnaire. For each item we calculated the overall importance score, defined as the product of its frequency and importance divided by 100 (range: 0–4). The item higher mean importance were: to check always food labels (2.03), to think about allergy before to do something new (1.68), afraid that nobody will help them when they feel unwell (1.53) and fear to contact accidentally an allergic food (1.31).
Conclusions The development phase of the new questionnaire shows that food allergy causes relevant problems to adolescents, with a significant impact on psychological, social and behavioural aspects of daily life.