Background: We developed and evaluated a self-management program for adult asthma. In developing the program, we considered questions of format and behavior control. The format we selected included components known to be effective in educational settings. We regulated asthma management behavior through the introduction of environmental cues.
Methods: Seventy-six subjects, whose asthma was generally under medical control, were assigned randomly to either a treatment group or a waiting-list control group. Those in the treatment group were exposed to a 7-week program that incorporated proven features of providing effective training and establishing behavioral control. Subsequently, subjects in the control group received the treatment. Short-term evaluation of the treatment was made after the subjects in the experimental group were trained but before the control subjects were trained. Long-term evaluation was conducted after both groups of subjects were trained.
Results: Over the short term, self-management training led to fewer asthma symptoms and physician visits and improvement in asthma management skills and cognitive abilities. Over the long term, self-management training was related to lower asthma attack frequency, reduced medication use, improvement in cognitive measures, and increased use of self-management skills.
Conclusions: The program improved asthma management in patients whose conditions were already under good medical control. The effects of the program were apparent a year after the conclusion of self-management training.