The impact of uncontrolled asthma on absenteeism and health-related quality of life

J Asthma. 2009 Nov;46(9):861-6. doi: 10.3109/02770900903184237.


Objective: To evaluate the impact of uncontrolled asthma on the absenteeism and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of adults and children with asthma and the caregivers of pediatric patients.

Patients and methods: Patient information was obtained from datasets maintained by National Jewish Health for this cross-sectional study. Participants in the study were 12 years of age or older. Participants younger than 18 years had their information provided by caregivers. Caregivers also provided 6 months of absenteeism and QOL data. Participants were classified as having uncontrolled asthma based on a treatment and symptom guideline-based algorithm. Absenteeism was assessed from the self-reported number of work or school days missed due to asthma during the previous 6 months. HRQOL among adults was measured using the validated Marks Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (Marks-AQLQ) and among caregivers using the validated Pediatric Asthma Caregivers Quality of Life Questionnaire (PACQLQ). To account for the positive skew in absenteeism data, a zero-inflated Poisson regression model was used to compare group differences. HRQOL was analyzed for adults and caregivers using the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test.

Results: A total of 15,149 patients met the inclusion criteria for the study and were included in the analysis. Adults with uncontrolled asthma and caregivers of children with uncontrolled asthma reported significantly higher absenteeism than their controlled counterparts: 43% vs 24% adults reported missing days of work, with a median 6 days vs 3 days missed; 31% vs 16% of caregivers reported missing days of work, with 4 days vs 2 days missed; and caregivers reported that more than 70% vs 45% pediatric patients missed school, with a median of 6 days vs 4 days missed (uncontrolled vs controlled asthma, respectively). Adult uncontrolled asthmatics and caregivers of uncontrolled pediatric patients had significantly lower HRQOL as indicated by the Marks-AQLQ (scores 1.5 points higher, p < 0.001) and PACQLQ (scores < 0.5 points lower, p < 0.001), respectively.

Conclusions: Uncontrolled asthma has far-reaching impact on the productivity and quality of life of asthma patients and their caregivers. Proper assessment, treatment, and disease management to improve asthma control may reduce the impact of uncontrolled asthma on asthmatic adults, children, and the caretakers of pediatric asthmatic patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Asthma* / drug therapy
  • Asthma* / psychology
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents / psychology
  • Quality of Life* / psychology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult