An Exploration of Activities, Reasons, and Barriers of Using Social Media for Food Allergy Management

Yee Ming Lee, Han Chen


Managing food allergies can be overwhelming for affected individuals. Social media (SoMe) may serve as a platform for individuals with food allergies to access and share useful information. This study investigates SoMe use among adults with food allergies. Fifty individuals with food allergies answered a series of open-ended questions related to their SoMe use behaviors. The answers were used to develop an online anonymous survey, which was completed by 319 individuals with food allergies. Results indicate that SoMe users mainly use SoMe to gather updated information about food allergies and hear somebody else’s experiences and advices about food allergies. Lack of privacy, concerns about reliability of the information, and lack of efficiency were barriers to the use of SoMe. Those who were younger, had an allergic reaction in restaurants in the past, and who were newly diagnosed with food allergy were more likely to engage in SoMe use for food allergy related purposes. SoMe administrators may seek strategies to remove barriers and share information from credible resources to benefit those in need of such information.


social media; food allergies; activities; barriers

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