Latino caregivers' beliefs about asthma: causes, symptoms, and practices

J Asthma. 2008 Apr;45(3):205-10. doi: 10.1080/02770900801890422.


Background and objective: This study examined belief systems of Latino caregivers who have children with asthma from Puerto Rican and Dominican backgrounds who resided on the Island of PR and the Mainland. The goal of this study was to document similarities and differences in beliefs about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of asthma across two sites and two Latino ethnic sub-groups of children who remain the most at risk for asthma morbidity.

Methods: Participants included 100 primary caregivers of a child with asthma; 50 caregivers from Island PR and 50 caregivers from mainland RI were interviewed (at each site; 25 caregivers were from Puerto Rican backgrounds and 25 caregivers were from Dominican backgrounds). The interview included an assessment of demographic information and beliefs about the causes and symptoms of asthma and asthma practices.

Results: Results indicated more similarities in beliefs about the causes and symptoms of asthma across site and ethnic group. The majority of differences were among beliefs about asthma practices by site and ethnic group. For example, a higher proportion of caregivers from Island PR, particularly those of Dominican descent, endorsed that a range of home and botanical remedies are effective for treating asthma.

Conclusions: Results from this study point to several interesting directions for future research including larger samples of Latino caregivers with children who have asthma. A discussion of the importance of understanding cultural beliefs about asthma and asthma practices is also reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / ethnology*
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hispanic or Latino / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mothers
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • Surveys and Questionnaires