Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Susan L. Instone, DNSc, CPNP, Chairperson Kathy Shadle James, DNSc, NP, FAAN


Grounded Theory, peanut allergy, Projective Drawings, psychosocial health, school-age children, stigma


Peanut allergy (PA), because of its life-threatening characteristic and increased prevalence in the last 10 years, has been the subject of much recent research primarily centered on its cause and search for cure and less on the psychosocial effects of the diagnosis. Currently, the only way to keep affected individuals safe is to practice strict allergen-avoidance and swift administration of emergency medication in the event of anaphylaxis. The general public is becoming more aware that PA exists because those not directly affected see and sometimes experience the repercussions of “peanut-free” policies in schools and on the planes. However, many do not understand the invisible chronic condition fully because much ambivalence surrounds its management. The focus of this study was on school-age children with PA as they experience an expanded social environment away from the safety of their homes. The purpose was to explore the social and emotional experience directly perceived by them, along with the perspective of their parents, using grounded theory, a qualitative approach. It was designed to generate a substantive theory about children’s experience with their chronic condition. However, it was important to first understand some of the internal and external contexts in which the children manage and live with PA: how they perceive and are affected by stigma in new environments at their stage of childhood development, and the existing policies that are not yet ideal to adequately address not only their physiological, but also their psychosocial health.

Document Type

Dissertation: USD Users Only