Purpose: To examine the impact of a peer-led asthma education program on asthma knowledge, attitudes, and quality of life among adolescents.
Methods: A controlled trial was conducted in two girls' high schools situated in an area of high unemployment and low socioeconomic status, and with a large non-English-speaking community. One school received the intervention and the second school acted as a comparison school. The Triple A (Adolescent Asthma Action) program was implemented in the intervention school and involved Year 11 student peer leaders instructing Year 10 students about asthma. The Year 10 students then developed asthma-related health messages into student asthma performances which were presented to the main student body. Outcomes were evaluated by questionnaire.
Results: The Triple A program led to a significant improvement in asthma knowledge in both students with asthma and their peers. This effect occurred not only in students conducting the asthma performances (Year 10), but also in students in the audience (Year 7). Students held favorable attitudes toward asthma, with high degrees of tolerance and moderate internal locus of control. Asthma-related quality of life was not altered by the intervention.
Conclusion: Peer-led asthma education was well received in the high school setting and led to important improvements in asthma knowledge among students with asthma and their peers.