Objective: To investigate the pattern of school absenteeism in asthmatic children within a Los Angeles inner city school.
Study design: Five hundred twenty-eight students of predominant Hispanic ethnicity, from a Los Angeles inner city school were divided into 3 groups: known asthma, high probability of asthma, and low probability of asthma using a previously validated instrument. Attendance records of these students were analyzed to determine total and respiratory absences over a year. School records were compared to the corresponding answers on 513 surveys to determine the accuracy of parental responses in regard to their children's absenteeism.
Results: Children with known asthma missed on average 2 more days of school than children with low probability of asthma and high probability of asthma. This was only significant in the younger age groups. Survey responses were found to have a 45.6% agreement with school attendance records. Underestimation occurred more often when school-recorded absentee rates were highest. Overestimation occurred more by parents of children with known asthma or a high probability of asthma.
Conclusion: In a Los Angeles inner city population, younger children with known asthma miss more days of school than those with no asthma. Survey-reported absenteeism is less accurate than school attendance records.