Supporting Children and Young People to Live Well With Coeliac Disease

Study Purpose

Managing a strict gluten-free diet is crucial for children and young people with coeliac disease. However, this can have adverse effects on psychological well-being and quality of life. Despite appeals from families, clinicians, and researchers, psychological support is not routinely provided to these families. This project aims to adapt existing self-help psychological resources used for food allergy, gastrointestinal disease, and type one diabetes to cater to families dealing with coeliac disease. The process involves collaboration with families and clinicians to modify these resources. Subsequently, a feasibility randomised controlled trial will be conducted to assess the viability and acceptability of these resources. In the trial, 50 families will complete well-being and quality of life questionnaires, along with assessments of their child's gluten-free dietary management. Families will be divided into groups receiving the psychological resources either immediately or after a two-month delay. Follow-up questionnaires will be administered at one and two months for all families, regardless of intervention access. Feedback on the resources and research participation will be gathered. The expectation is that these self-help psychological resources for parents will enhance gluten-free diet management, quality of life for coeliac children and young people, and well-being for parents.

Recruitment Criteria

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Healthy volunteers are participants who do not have a disease or condition, or related conditions or symptoms

Study Type

An interventional clinical study is where participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions (or no intervention) so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes.

An observational clinical study is where participants identified as belonging to study groups are assessed for biomedical or health outcomes.

Searching Both is inclusive of interventional and observational studies.

Eligible Ages 8 Years - 11 Years
Gender All
More Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • - Caregiver(s) with a CYP between 8-11 years of age who report a diagnosis of coeliac disease.
  • - Willingness to take part in a self-help psychological intervention.
  • - Participant must have the ability to provide informed consent/assent.
Caregiver(s) who consent to the study will still be able to take part, even if their CYP does not provide assent to complete outcome measures.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • - Families participating in another intervention-based research will not be eligible.
  • - Participant identified by clinical team as not appropriate (e.g. undergoing treatment for other complex difficulties) - English proficiency unsuitable for participation in self-help psychological intervention and/ or online survey.

Trial Details

Trial ID:

This trial id was obtained from, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, providing information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants with locations in all 50 States and in 196 countries.


Phase 1: Studies that emphasize safety and how the drug is metabolized and excreted in humans.

Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition) and additional safety data.

Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.

Phase 4: Studies occurring after FDA has approved a drug for marketing, efficacy, or optimal use.

Lead Sponsor

The sponsor is the organization or person who oversees the clinical study and is responsible for analyzing the study data.

University of Surrey
Principal Investigator

The person who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the entire clinical study.

Rose-Marie Satherley
Principal Investigator Affiliation University of Surrey
Agency Class

Category of organization(s) involved as sponsor (and collaborator) supporting the trial.

Overall Status Not yet recruiting
Countries United Kingdom

The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.

Celiac Disease, Celiac Disease in Children
Additional Details

Coeliac disease is a common autoimmune condition in children, estimated to affect 1 in 100 in the UK. Coeliac disease can occur at any age and is treated with a lifelong gluten-free diet. When someone with coeliac disease eats gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye), their immune system attacks itself and causes damage to the gut. If left undiagnosed and untreated long term, the disease can cause complications like growth problems, delayed puberty, tooth enamel defects, iron deficiency anaemia, chronic fatigue and, over time, osteoporosis. The good news is, these potential complications can be avoided with early diagnosis and treatment. While strict management of the gluten-free diet has been linked to improvements in intestinal damage and quality of life, the relentless behavioural and social demands of detecting gluten is challenging. Often, families report concerns around attending family gatherings, school trips, and eating out at restaurants due to the potential for accidental gluten consumption. To manage these concerns, some families avoid social events entirely, which can affect school attendance and participation in normal childhood activities such as birthday parties and sleepovers. Children and young people (CYP) with coeliac disease have described feeling like a "nuisance" and may experience social stigma associated with their need to eat different food, frustration and isolation, and a higher probability of developing mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. A large body of research suggests that exposure to parental anxiety increases the risk of similar problems in CYP. CYP can learn that certain situations lead their parents to feel anxious, which may lead to them feeling threatened, and cope (usually by avoidance) in a similar manner. The same appears true for families with coeliac disease, where caregiver(s) with high levels of anxiety, have CYP with higher levels of anxiety. Whilst the gluten-free diet is essential for the management of coeliac disease, it is not enough to only address foods that must that be avoided in coeliac disease. Support must also address how to navigate a gluten-free diet that does not require social isolation and over-restriction. For CYP with coeliac disease, management of the gluten-free diet often relies on the caregiver(s), and so, intervention components must support the whole family system. Self-help psychological interventions (interactive websites and books) for families of CYP with food allergy and type one diabetes already exist. These interventions appear impactful when embedded alongside routine care for CYP with food allergy, and looks promising for CYP with type one diabetes. These findings suggest that these psychological interventions reduce anxiety and increase wellbeing in caregiver(s), as well as their CYP. In line with family desires and health system policy, this project will adapt these existing self-help psychological interventions to support families of CYP with coeliac disease, and test the impact on caregiver(s) wellbeing, and CYP gluten-free diet management and wellbeing. The anticipation is that the development and delivery of effective self-help psychological interventions for caregiver(s) of CYP with coeliac disease will support appropriate management of the gluten-free diet, alongside psychological wellbeing.

Arms & Interventions


Experimental: Parent self-help psychological resource

A self-help psychological resource will be provided for parents to use with their CYP in the home.

No Intervention: Wait list control

Parents randomised to the control arm will be put on the waiting list (wait-list controls) to receive the group intervention after they have completed their final follow-up at 2 months.


Behavioral: - Parent self-help psychological resource

A self-help psychological resource designed alongside families and clinicians, to be delivered to parents of CYP with coeliac disease. The resource will focus on providing psychoeducation on the gluten-free diet, concerns around dietary management, using family's strengths to support dietary management, managing outside the home, and transition to independent management of the gluten-free diet.

Contact a Trial Team

If you are interested in learning more about this trial, find the trial site nearest to your location and contact the site coordinator via email or phone. We also strongly recommend that you consult with your healthcare provider about the trials that may interest you and refer to our terms of service below.

International Sites

Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Bristol, United Kingdom



Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

Bristol, ,

Site Contact

Sophie Velleman

+44 (0)1483 684518

Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, United Kingdom



Royal Surrey County Hospital

Guildford, ,

Oxford Children's Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom



Oxford Children's Hospital

Oxford, ,

Site Contact

Annabel David

+44 (0)1483 684518

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