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Researching Sex and Gender in Food Allergy : An Integrative Framework. Audrey DunnGalvin; Jonathan O’B.Hourihane; Ineke Klinge. Gaps in sex/gender research on food allergy. - Biological vulnerability - Exposure to health risks - Perception of symptoms - Evaluation of risk

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Researching Sex and Gender in Food Allergy : An Integrative Framework

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Researching sex and gender in food allergy an integrative framework l.jpg

Researching Sex and Gender in Food Allergy : An Integrative Framework

Audrey DunnGalvin; Jonathan O’B.Hourihane; Ineke Klinge.


Gaps in sex gender research on food allergy l.jpg

Gaps in sex/gender research on food allergy.

- Biological vulnerability

- Exposure to health risks

- Perception of symptoms

- Evaluation of risk

- Information processing

- Role expectations


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How: Practical Examples ?

  • Gender and sex routinely identified in sampling :

    • Agreed Terminology

    • Stratification by sex and age

  • Interdisciplinary and integrative research :

    • Methodology

    • Shared knowledge

  • Support Systems :

    • Policy and research links

    • Training

    • Database


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Mechanisms that underpin sex/gender differences in health

  • A bi-directional relationship

  • Are experience dependent

  • Are multi-determined


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An Integrative Framework ?

  • Health as a dynamic, multifactorial phenomenon that influences physical, psychological and social functioning.

  • Developing systems interact, react with, and programme one another.

  • Promotes interdisciplinary research


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Developmental Trajectories

  • Critical or sensitive periods are those stages of functional development when a regulatory pathway is being constructed or modified.

  • The developing child/adolescent is particularly sensitive to favourable or unfavourable environmental factors.


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The complex interaction between nature and nurture

  • Research on adolescents shows that girls, compared to boys, are at an increased risk for psychological disturbance, including internalising behaviour problems

  • and poorer self-concept

    during the transition phase

    from childhood to adolescence.


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Focus Groups with children aged 6-12 years.


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“Living with a food allergy: An exploration of children’s views and experiences”.

  • Gender differences in coping strategies were particularly pronounced for children >8 years.

  • Girls have high levels of anxiety and adopt avoidant behaviour

  • Boys tend to become defiant, use minimisation as a coping strategy and adopt risky behaviours.


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A critical point in development.

  • We identified a critical point in the food allergy specific developmental trajectory occurs when children learn or feel that they cannot prevent a reaction from occurring.

  • Direct and indirect effects on emotional adjustment, coping strategies, risk and safety, symptom perception, and overall QoL.


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Future Research

  • Integrative longitudinal studies examining life course effects.

  • Data collected during biological, psychological and social transitions.

  • Describe the specific bio-behavioural pathways that link social context with health outcomes for both men and women.


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