Pediatric Asthma and Problems in Attention, Concentration, and Impulsivity: Disruption of the Family Management System

Fam Syst Health. 2008 Mar;26(1):16-29. doi: 10.1037/1091-7527.26.1.16.


RATIONALE: This study assesses the relationships between ADHD symptoms, specific family asthma management domains, and pediatric asthma morbidity. METHODS: Participants were 110 children with asthma and a respective parent (ages 7-17, X = 11.6 years, 25% ethnic/racial minority). Parents completed measures of asthma morbidity and report of child ADHD symptoms. Children completed measures of attention, concentration, and impulsivity. Families participated in the Family Asthma Management System Scale (FAMSS) interview to assess the effectiveness of eight features of asthma management. RESULTS: Parent report of ADHD symptoms and poor child performance on a computerized task of sustained visual attention were associated with asthma morbidity. Paper and pencil tasks of visual attention, and an index of auditory attention, were not related to asthma morbidity. Modest associations were found between parent report of ADHD symptoms, child performance-based indicators of attention and concentration, and features of family asthma management, although not across all measures. The family response to asthma partially mediated the relationship between ADHD symptoms and morbidity. CONCLUSIONS: ADHD symptoms are modestly associated with difficulties in family asthma management.