A new study found that about a third of teenagers who have a food allergy reported emotional or behavioral problems. Their mothers, however, reported much higher incidences of problems, most often depression or anxiety. The numbers reported by mothers closely match the numbers reported by the teenagers once they reach adulthood.
The study involved 1,300 children, surveying them and their parents both when they were teenagers and as 21-year-old adults. The survey asked about mental and behavioral problems, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety, and others.
46 percent of the mothers of teenagers with food allergies reported their teens had emotional or behavioral problems.
Although the teenagers themselves reported far lower instances of mental health issues as teens, when polled at the age of 21, those same teens were much more likely to report having had emotional problems. At that age, 44 percent of them reported emotional and behavioral problems as teenagers. A number very close to that of mothers reporting on their children.
These numbers, when compared to the same surveys given to non-allergic teens and young adults, found that teenagers with food allergies were nearly twice as likely to have symptoms of depression and that these were likely to persist after adolescence.