Do people with food intolerance share characteristics with those with food allergy? A new approach

  • M. Martin
  • C. Dawes

Abstract

Background: Medically diagnosed Food Allergy (FA) is increasing in incidence less than self-diagnosed Food Intolerance (FI). To what extent do individuals with FA and with FI share common characteristics in their psychological processing? Is it possible to identify areas of commonality between FA or FI groups and individuals with Asthma or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)? Methods: 150 participants were in six groups: FA, FI, Asthma, IBS, CFS/ME, Healthy Control. All participants completed a series of on-line tasks and questionnaires. Findings: Reported general health was significantly worse for the FI group than for the FA and control groups. Somatisation levels (PHQ-15) were significantly higher for the FI than for the FA and control groups, but did not differ significantly from those for the IBS and CFS/ME groups. Pain catastrophising, depression and anxiety were also significantly higher for the FI group than for the FA and control groups. Further, level of somatic bias (word association task) was significantly higher for the FI group than for the FA and control groups, but did not differ significantly from the levels for the IBS and CFS/ME groups, even when comparisons were controlled for levels of anxiety and depression. Discussion: The results suggest that individuals with FI may share a tendency toward a characteristic type of processing (e.g. a greater sensitivity to stress) with some other illness groups. It is possible that this aspect of FI could be assisted by CBT or MBCT which are tailored to address this problem.
Published
2017-12-31
Section
Oral presentations