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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Development of the Chicago Food Allergy Research Surveys: assessing knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of parents, physicians, and the general public

Ruchi S Gupta12*, Jennifer S Kim3, Elizabeth E Springston1, Jacqueline A Pongracic3, Xiaobin Wang1 and Jane Holl2

Author Affiliations

1 Smith Child Health Research Program, Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, USA

2 Institute for Healthcare Studies, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, USA

3 Division of Allergy and Immunology, Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, USA

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BMC Health Services Research 2009, 9:142  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-142

Published: 7 August 2009

Abstract

Background

Parents of children with food allergy, primary care physicians, and members of the general public play a critical role in the health and well-being of food-allergic children, though little is known about their knowledge and perceptions of food allergy. The purpose of this paper is to detail the development of the Chicago Food Allergy Research Surveys to assess food allergy knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs among these three populations.

Methods

From 2006–2008, parents of food-allergic children, pediatricians, family physicians, and adult members of the general public were recruited to assist in survey development. Preliminary analysis included literature review, creation of initial content domains, expert panel review, and focus groups. Survey validation included creation of initial survey items, expert panel ratings, cognitive interviews, reliability testing, item reduction, and final validation. National administration of the surveys is ongoing.

Results

Nine experts were assembled to oversee survey development. Six focus groups were held: 2/survey population, 4–9 participants/group; transcripts were reviewed via constant comparative methods to identify emerging themes and inform item creation. At least 220 participants per population were recruited to assess the relevance, reliability, and utility of each survey item as follows: cognitive interviews, 10 participants; reliability testing ≥ 10; item reduction ≥ 50; and final validation, 150 respondents.

Conclusion

The Chicago Food Allergy Research surveys offer validated tools to assess food allergy knowledge and perceptions among three distinct populations: a 42 item parent tool, a 50 item physician tool, and a 35 item general public tool. No such tools were previously available.