What makes women with food hypersensitivity do self-management work?
Methods: We used the Self-determination theory and the Conservation of resources theory to analyze 16 qualitative individual interviews with women with FH aged 39–67 years.
Results: Our participants reported that eating selected foods resulted in uncomfortable symptoms, and their main motivation for carrying out self-management work was the wish to avoid these symptoms and their consequences. Participants’ individual resources were crucial to the management of FH, and those who had a social network that included people with relevant competencies clearly benefited from this. Hindrances to the management of FH included competing priorities and not wanting to break with the social expectation of sharing a meal.
Conclusions: Women with FH carried out self-management work because they were highly motivated. Important motivators included the uncomfortable symptoms that resulted from consuming some foods, which had negative consequences on their lives or could bring shame. The ability to perform self-management work was dependent on the availability of individual and social resources. Indeed, women with FH who have the individual and social resources necessary to manage their condition may not need health services, whereas those who do not have these resources, or have significant competing priorities, may need assistance from health services. The desire to avoid uncomfortable symptoms can be a motivator for persons with chronic conditions to do selfmanagement work, while a lack of symptoms can reduce motivation. The competing role of basic needs can take two forms: when fulfilled, these needs may contribute to self-management work; however, people may opt out of self-management in order to fulfil basic needs.