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Assessment of factors which influence compliance to diet revision therapy for food allergy in a pediatric population Harris, Elizabeth Dorothy


Failure to comply with prescribed regimens is a major reason for the failure of treatment programs. This study investigated factors which are related to compliance with prescribed diet revision therapy for food allergies in school-aged children. Forty-five children, aged 6 to 12 years, who were under a physician's care for food allergies, formed the sample. The Health Belief Model was used as the basis for a questionnaire devised to measure these factors. The development of the Diet Revision Therapy Parent Questionnaire involved a pilot test and revisions; the resulting instrument consists of 38 items organized into 4 subtests, of which one 7-item subtest is to be considered optional. The 38-item DRTPQ has a full scale internal consistency reliability of .87, and a composite reliability of .61 for the four subscales. The canonical correlation between 3 types of subjective ratings of compliance and the 4 subtests is .80, with 64% shared variance between these sets of variables. A discriminant function of 3 subtests of the DRTPQ proved capable of discriminating diet therapy dropouts from continuing subjects with 88.9% accuracy. These three subtests measured: 1. Parent and family life factors, such as the amount of perceived interference in normal routines, 2. Child's attitudes to the treatment and his/her normal behavior with respect to cooperation with parental demands, and 3. Belief in the benefits to be derived from the treatment. A fourth category of items measured perceived severity of the condition and perceived susceptibility to illness but proved not to predict compliance in this sample, although it may be useful in clinical practice. Suggestions for interventions to aid compliance are outlined.

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