Stressors and concerns in teen asthma

Curr Probl Pediatr. 1999 Mar;29(3):82-93. doi: 10.1016/s0045-9380(99)80041-3.


Adolescents are uniquely susceptible to poor outcome with asthma because of their desire for autonomy, denial of disease, preference for immediate gain rather than prophylaxis, restricted ability to control their psychosocial and physical environment, and difficult transition to health care. Tobacco smoking as well as related drug abuse and passive exposure to tobacco is a major obstacle to managing adolescent asthma, together with atopy and psychosocial problems. Recent investigations indicate that adolescents are uniquely susceptible to tobacco industry promotions and logos because of these developmental characteristics. By understanding adolescent development, behavior and peer group impact, with its spectrum from early to late adolescence, clinicians can target their educational interventions more successfully in asthma. Health care provision for the adolescent with asthma requires a multidisciplinary team spearheaded by a primary care provider with the expert guidance of an allergist, outreach nurse, mental health worker, and social service representative. This care must be negotiated with an appropriate educational plan on the basis of NHLBI guidelines to be successful. Medications should be prescribed no more than twice a day, whenever possible, in conjunction with an action plan on the basis of peak flow readings to warn the adolescent when to use more medication and when to call the clinician. The plan should empower adolescents by recognizing their need for autonomy with self-management, enabling them to have a safe and comfortable lifestyle, and being physically and mentally at ease with their peers, family, school, and work environments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / psychology*
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents