Tales of pediatric asthma management: family-based strategies related to medical adherence and health care utilization

J Pediatr. 2003 Oct;143(4):457-62. doi: 10.1067/S0022-3476(03)00448-7.


Objectives: To examine how family management styles, garnered from parent interviews about the effect of asthma on family life, are related to medical adherence and health care utilization.

Study design: Eighty parents with a child with asthma were interviewed. Computerized monitoring of medication use was collected every 2 months for 1 year. Parents and children completed measures of medical adherence and health care utilization at the time of the interview and at 1-year follow-up. Three categories of disease management were identified: reactive, coordinated care, and family partnerships. Group comparisons were made by using analysis of variance with medical adherence and health care utilization as dependent variables.

Results: Management strategies revealed in the interview were distinguishable by adherence rates at the time of interview and 1 year after. Interview categories were also predictive of emergency department use at 1-year follow-up. The reactive group received a diagnosis of asthma 1 year after noting symptoms, in contrast with the other groups, who received a diagnosis within 6 months.

Conclusions: The use of semistructured interviews may reveal important information about how families manage asthma. Further work may help identify areas amenable to intervention and provide a better understanding of why some families delay treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Child
  • Disease Management
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Patient Compliance*