Objective: To identify and describe variations in ways of experiencing asthma management among general practitioners (GPs) in Sweden.
Design: Descriptive and explorative study using a phenomenographic approach. Semi-structured tape-recorded face-to-face interviews, focusing on the GP's own experiences regarding asthma management.
Setting: Primary health care.
Subjects: Twenty GPs (12 men, eight women) from 16 health centres in seven counties in central Sweden, 15 from rural areas and small cities and five from medium sized cities or Stockholm suburbs.
Main outcome measures: Descriptions of ways of experiencing asthma management.
Results: Four categories were identified, which described qualitatively different ways of experiencing asthma management: A. The GP focuses on transferring factual knowledge to the patient; B. The GP primarily addresses the patients' application of knowledge in management of the disease; C. The GP aims at improving the patients' understanding of the disease and its management as a prerequisite for self-management; D. The GP concentrates on how to maintain/improve the patient's quality of life despite the asthma disease.
Conclusion: The GPs describe their ways of experiencing asthma management in qualitatively different ways, likely to have implications for patient care and educational programmes on asthma for GPs.