This study examines the effects of communication between low income urban parents and children about a chronic disease on the extent to which parent and child effectively manage the illness. Four asthma communication factors were identified by principal component analysis. We found that mothers whose preferred language was Spanish, and families who were not receiving public assistance, communicated more frequently about asthma in general. Spanish speaking mothers and their children communicated more about potential home treatments for asthma, and the more adults in the household the less there was communication about the need for emergency services for asthma. Mothers who preferred to speak Spanish had higher levels of management of the most recent asthma attack. Those whose children communicated with them about asthma in general were higher level managers. Children who influenced their parents' decisions about school attendance, and those whose mothers were more highly educated, had higher levels of asthma attack management. More educated mothers, ones whose children were younger at the time of the onset of asthma, and one who received public assistance, were more involved "in general" in their child's asthma care.