Comparison of asthma knowledge, management, and psychological burden among parents of asthmatic children from rural and urban neighborhoods in India

J Asthma. 2009 Nov;46(9):911-5. doi: 10.3109/02770900903191323.


Introduction: Asthma prevalence is increasing in developing countries such as India. Little is known on parental knowledge of asthma severity, management and psychosocial impact, particularly among rural dwellers. Further, it is not known whether the female asthmatic child is particularly vulnerable.

Objective: To evaluate parental asthma knowledge and psychological impact of having an asthmatic child.

Methods: 134 consecutive caregivers were surveyed at the visit for their child's asthma exacerbation at an urban hospital in Kanpur, India between 3/2007-3/2008.

Results: The child's age range was 5.7A +/- 2.7 years. 76% were urban city dwellers with significantly higher number having a college degree. 23% children had moderate to severe persistent asthma; however, only 42% were on inhaled steroids. Parental severity perception was comparable to National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) classification. While 67% identified bronchoconstriction occurred with asthma, only 8.9% recognized that inflammation played a role. There was no difference in the perceived stress by area of residence with 89% reported not or only sometimes feeling stressed with having an asthmatic child. Similarly, the concern among those with a female asthmatic child did not differ with 73% of caregivers believing that asthma would not affect their daughter's future.

Conclusion: In an urban Indian hospital, 23% of asthmatic children had moderate to severe persistent asthma but only 9% were on controllers. Their parents were well educated, able to identify asthma severity appropriately and denied being stressed with having asthmatic children, irrespective of the gender of the child. However, their understanding of asthma pathophysiology was sub-optimal. Increased disease knowledge may lead to greater medication adherence among asthmatic children in India.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Asthma / psychology*
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors
  • Steroids / administration & dosage
  • Steroids / therapeutic use
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*


  • Steroids