Exploring what motivates and sustains support group engagement amongst young people with allergies: a qualitative study

Jones, C L, Sommereux, L A and Smith, H E (2018) Exploring what motivates and sustains support group engagement amongst young people with allergies: a qualitative study. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 48 (9). pp. 1195-1205. ISSN 0954-7894

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Positive self-care behaviours are more likely in young people who engage with allergy support groups, but reasons for this association are not well understood.

This study explored how and why young people engage with allergy support groups to identify what activities and resources are beneficial.

In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with young people aged 12-21 years who reported engaging with allergy support groups (in person or on-line). Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic content analysis.

The 21 participants had a range of allergies; initially most joined support groups on suggestion of their parent/carer although older participants sought groups independently. Feeling included and sharing experiences with people with similar problems/challenges were highly valued. Through membership, young people reported improved self-esteem and confidence in both managing their allergies and lives generally. Information, such as allergy alerts and hard-hitting video campaigns were reported to positively influence adherence to self-care behaviours such as carrying medication which led to sustained engagement. Participants wanted greater availability of allergy support groups, and higher profiles in healthcare and educational settings, as well as through social media.

Conclusions and clinical relevance
Participants valued the psychological and practical support of networking with others with allergies, and described how membership improved their confidence. This study also provides insight into the ways support groups improve young people’s adherence to medical advice and positive self-care behaviours; participants responded well to hard-hitting video campaigns which appeared to emphasise the severity and susceptibility of anaphylaxis. Participants identified the need for more active promotion of support groups amongst young people and their clinicians, as well as making them available in more localities.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Primary Care and Public Health
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0199 Behaviourism. Neobehaviourism. Behavioural psychology
Depositing User: Christina Jones
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2018 14:27
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 12:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/76502

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Understanding why young people with severe allergies join support groupsG1524ANAPHYLAXIS CAMPAIGNUnset