Parents underestimate fatigue in younger children aged 5-7 years with asthma but not in older children

Acta Paediatr. 2024 Feb;113(2):303-308. doi: 10.1111/apa.17005. Epub 2023 Oct 19.


Aim: To assess fatigue in children aged 2-17 years with asthma from both child and parent perspectives and describe associated factors.

Methods: Fatigue scores were self-reported by children aged 5-17 years old and proxy-reported by parents or carers for all children. The Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory Multidimensional Fatigue Scale was used. Fatigue scores ranged from 0 to 100, higher scores meant less fatigue.

Results: There were 527 children and parents enrolled. The mean overall fatigue score by self-report was 72.7 ± 15.8 and by proxy report was 75.8 ± 16.3. Self-reported fatigue score was lower in children aged 5-7 years (71.5 ± 15.9) compared to proxy-reported score (76.3 ± 15.5). Proxy and self-reported fatigue scores were similar between parents and older children. Fatigue scores were lower in association with poor asthma control and receipt of social support. Lower self-reported, but not proxy-reported, fatigue score was related to asthma severity. Lower proxy-reported, but not self-reported, fatigue score was related to the child being older and having shortness of breath.

Conclusion: Parents underestimated the fatigue of younger children aged 5-7 years, but fatigue scores were similar between parents and older children. Both clinical and social factors are associated with fatigue in children with asthma.

Keywords: allergy; asthma; fatigue; lethargy; quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma* / complications
  • Asthma* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Humans
  • Parents
  • Proxy
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires