Objective: To establish children and adolescents' perspectives regarding their asthma and its impact upon their daily lives.
Design: A 14-item questionnaire.
Setting: Canada, Greece, Hungary, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.
Participants: Children/adolescents (aged 8-15 years) with physician-diagnosed asthma.
Intervention: Interviews were conducted by telephone (Canada, Greece, Hungary, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) or face-to-face (South Africa).
Outcome measures: Asthma symptoms, impact on activities, and quality of life.
Results: Of the 943 children/adolescents interviewed, 60% were male. Most (81%) described their asthma as "not too bad" or "I only get it every now and then," with only 4% reporting their asthma as being "very bad"; however, 92% experienced asthma-related coughing and 59% reported nocturnal awakening. Over half (57%) of children/adolescents believed they could predict when their asthma would make them ill; the most common initial symptoms being breathlessness (41%) and bad cough (33%). They considered the worst things about having asthma to be the symptoms of an asthma attack (32%) and not being able to play sport (25%). Almost half (47%) of children/adolescents felt that their asthma affected their ability to play sport or engage in physical activity. One in ten reported they had suffered asthma-related bullying.
Conclusions: Children/adolescents underestimate the severity of their asthma, and overestimate its control, indicating that they expect their illness to be symptomatic. Asthma has a substantial impact on their daily lives, particularly on physical activity and social functioning. Efforts are required to improve asthma control and expectations of health in children/adolescents.
Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.