Parenting asthmatic children: identification of parenting challenges

J Asthma. 2008 Aug;45(6):465-72. doi: 10.1080/02770900802040050.


Asthma is the most common chronic illness of childhood, affecting up to 14% of children. Poor asthma management and non-adherence to treatment regimens are a pervasive problem in this population and are related to exacerbation of symptoms. Effective management of pediatric asthma involves a complex set of interactions between the parent and child, yet there is a paucity of literature examining these interactions. The main purpose of this study was to identify the child behavior and asthma management tasks parents experience difficulty with. It was hypothesized that the more asthma behavior problems reported, the more problems parents experience in asthma management tasks. Participants in this study were 255 parents of 2-to 10-year-old asthmatic children, recruited via an advertisement placed in school newsletters throughout Australia. Results indicated that the most problematic child asthma behaviors were oppositional behavior, hyperactivity, and aggression, and anxiety was also identified by parents as a concern. The main problematic asthma parenting tasks were entrusting the school, entrusting caregivers, identifying unique symptoms, and identifying and avoiding triggers. More problem asthma behaviors were associated with higher levels of parenting difficulty and more general levels of behavior problems. Parents who reported more dysfunctional parenting styles reported more difficulties with their child's asthma behavior. Based on the results it is suggested that an appropriate parenting intervention program would target basic behavioral management skills, in addition to applying these behavior management principles to asthma management.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / psychology*
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child Behavior Disorders / complications
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parenting*