Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Allergy Unit

Student research


Knowledge and attitudes of Australian primary school teachers about food allergies

by
Denise Kroehling-Schmiedeberg
Master of Public Health (Honours), The University of Sydney
Supervisors: Robert Loblay, Velencia Soutter, Anne Swain, Simon Chapman
March 2001

Abstract

Context:
Food allergies and food-induced anaphylaxis are increasing. Children while at school are at particular risk.

Objectives:
To investigate primary teachers' knowledge and attitudes about food allergies; to identify barriers which may impair their abilities to deal with severe reactions to food.

Design:
Cross-sectional mailed survey of school teachers from normal education and intensive support schools. Data collection from October 2000 to January 2001.

Setting:
Independent and government primary schools in the state of New South Wales, Australia.

Participants:
513 (1481 invited) primary school teachers from 87 (200 invited) randomly selected independent and government schools.

Main outcome measures:
Knowledge and attitudes about food allergies.

Results:
Mean knowledge score of 7.95/15.00 (95% CI: 7.70-8.20). Rural teachers scored lowest. Longest qualified teachers obtained highest scores.

Conclusions:
Higher knowledge was associated with confidence and positive attitudes. Increasing knowledge of primary teachers about food allergies should be the primary target to prepare teachers to deal with emergencies.