Empathy Among Adolescents Concerning Food Allergies of Their Peers


  • Sharon Warrior J.W. Mitchell High School
  • Jamela Orrego J.W. Mitchell High School




Empathy, Food Allergies, Adolescents, Teenagers, Awareness, Allergic Reaction


Food allergies can be defined as having physical reaction(s) to any consumed substance, including anaphylaxis, hives, and nausea. Although many adolescents have food allergies, it was not clear how their peers felt about it or if their awareness impacted their empathy levels. Previous research primarily focused on the scientific aspects of food allergies and how they impact those who possess them. Thus, a study was conducted based off the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), an established questionnaire that measures empathy, to determine empathy levels among adolescents about their peers’ food allergies across four subscales: Perspective-Taking (PD), Fantasy (FS), Empathic Concern (EC), and Personal Distress (PD). The questions were altered to measure only empathy levels regarding allergies and were divided into two sections so that empathy was measured before and after factual allergy information was presented to the participants. The survey was distributed among classrooms and social media platforms to adolescents ages 14-19. The responses indicate overall empathy scores experienced a slight decrease from 3.375 to 3 (neutral) after the information was presented. However, when a Chi-square analysis was conducted,  and 0.357 < 7.815 (critical value), indicating the decrease was not significant. The findings demonstrate that a paragraph of information is not sufficient as it does not stimulate a significant change in empathy among adolescents regarding their peers’ food allergies. Further studies regarding the extent of external empathy influences should be conducted to determine if more exposure is needed to increase empathy.


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How to Cite

Warrior, S., & Orrego, J. (2022). Empathy Among Adolescents Concerning Food Allergies of Their Peers. Journal of Student Research, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsrhs.v11i2.2583



AP Capstone™ Research