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Developing and validating a novel questionnaire to capture bio-psycho-social variables of allergic reactions in the community: the AlleRiC study and the preliminary analyses

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Allergic disease is a growing health risk in the modern world, while its management at professional and patients’ levels is unsatisfactory. There is no register of prevalence and biopsychosocial co-factors of allergic reactions as they occur in real world settings.

The Allergic Reactions in the Community (AlleRiC) study aims to develop and validate an on-line questionnaire to allow real time food allergic reactions to be reported, with scope for an in depth exploration of related real-world factors.


Following focus groups and an expert evaluation, an item pool of 81 items was generated. 39 adults from Ireland and UK, diagnosed with food allergy, evaluated a prototype of the AlleRiC online questionnaire. Individual items of the prototype were psychometrically assessed via a novel Evaluative Scale measuring five different facets of the questions.


Individual items were evaluated positively by participants (60-70% of positive scores on the Evaluative Scale). Preliminary psychometric analyses of the questionnaire’s items showed good construct, convergent and face validity (Cronbach’s Alpha >0.7). With reference to co-factors, reactions occurred most often in a social context (67% of cases), especially in small groups (29% of cases) of family members, relatives and close friends (44% of cases). 77% of companions were aware of the participants’ food allergy diagnosis. Reactions had a psychological impact with 87% of cases indicating a change in emotional affect following a reaction (from positive to negative affect).


The AlleRiC study demonstrates potential to provide novel findings, which may give new understanding of the real-world, real time factors that give rise to, or prevent, reactions. Such findings will have implications for food allergy management across Europe. As a new psychometric tool: the AlleRiC questionnaire is now undergoing further validation.

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Correspondence to Katarzyna Pyrz.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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  • Allergic Reaction
  • Food Allergy
  • Online Questionnaire
  • Item Pool
  • AlleRiC Study