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1.  Factors associated with recruitment and retention of diverse children with asthma 
This study examines factors associated with recruitment and retention of Latino, Dominican (DR) and mainland Puerto Rican (PR), and non-Latino white (NLW) families into a pediatric asthma study. Over eleven hundred (n=1185) families were screened, and 489 (n= 174 NLW, n= 160 DR, n= 155 PR) were enrolled. Rates of recruitment by source of recruitment and rates of retention differed by ethnic group. Families whose caregiver had never married had lower odds of completing the study. The findings highlight the need for further study to examine the effectiveness of specific recruitment and retention strategies with Latino and non-Latino white families.
doi:10.1080/02739615.2013.837821
PMCID: PMC4084850  PMID: 25013244
2.  The Home Environment and Family Asthma Management Among Ethnically Diverse Urban Youth with Asthma 
While the pediatric psychology literature underscores the importance of illness related aspects of the home environment for optimal family asthma management, little is known about the contribution of more global aspects of the home environment (e.g., family routines/schedule, quality of stimulation provided to child) to asthma management in ethnic minority and urban families. The goals of this study were to: 1) explore ethnic/racial group differences in global and specific dimensions of home environment quality among Latino, non-Latino white (NLW), and African American urban children with asthma; and 2) examine associations between the quality and quantity of support and stimulation within the home environment, as measured by the HOME Inventory, and family asthma management in this sample. Urban, low-income children (N=131) between the ages of 6 and 13 with asthma and a primary caregiver participated in a multi-modal assessment including an in home observation and semi structured interviews to assess aspects of home environment quality and family asthma management practices. While controlling for poverty, no ethnic group differences were found in the global home environment; however, there were significant differences in specific dimensions (e.g. Family Participation in Developmentally Stimulating Experiences, and Aspects of the Physical Environment) of home environment quality. Across the whole sample, home environment quality predicted family asthma management. When examining this association for specific ethnic groups, this finding did not hold for the Latino subsample. The results highlight the need to consider ethnic group differences in non-illness specific aspects of the home environment when addressing families’ asthma management strategies.
doi:10.1037/a0032462
PMCID: PMC3746827  PMID: 23795627
3.  Underdiagnosed and Undertreated Allergic Rhinitis in Urban School-Aged Children with Asthma 
Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a risk factor for the development of asthma, and if poorly controlled, it may exacerbate asthma. We sought to describe AR symptoms and treatment in a larger study about asthma, sleep, and school performance. We examined the proportion (1) who met criteria for AR in an urban sample of school children with persistent asthma symptoms, (2) whose caregivers stated that they were not told of their child's allergies, (3) who had AR but were not treated or were undertreated for the disease, as well as (4) caregivers and healthcare providers' perceptions of the child's allergy status compared with study assessment, and (5) associations between self-report of asthma and AR control over a 4-week monitoring period. One hundred sixty-six children with persistent asthma participated in a clinical evaluation of asthma and rhinitis, including allergy testing. Self-report of asthma control and rhinitis control using the Childhood Asthma Control Test (C-ACT) and Rhinitis Control Assessment Test (RCAT) were measured 1 month after the study clinic session. Persistent rhinitis symptoms were reported by 72% of participants; 54% of rhinitis symptoms were moderate in severity, though only 33% of the sample received adequate treatment. AR was newly diagnosed for 53% during the clinic evaluation. Only 15% reported using intranasal steroids. Participants with poorly controlled AR had poorer asthma control compared with those with well-controlled AR. This sample of urban school-aged children with persistent asthma had underdiagnosed and undertreated AR. Healthcare providers and caregivers in urban settings need additional education about the role of allergies in asthma, recognition of AR symptoms, and AR's essential function in the comanagement of asthma. Barriers to linkages with allergy specialists need to be identified.
doi:10.1089/ped.2014.0344
PMCID: PMC4062104  PMID: 24963455
4.  Perceptual accuracy of upper airway compromise in children: Clinical relevance and future directions for research 
Allergy & Rhinology  2013;4(2):e54-e62.
Approximately 80% of children with asthma have coexisting allergic rhinitis. The accurate recognition and assessment of asthma and rhinitis symptoms is an integral component of guideline-based treatment for both conditions. This article describes the development and preliminary evaluation of a novel paradigm for testing the accuracy of children's assessment of their upper airway (rhinitis) symptoms. This work is guided by our previous research showing the clinical efficacy of tools to evaluate children's perceptual accuracy of asthma symptoms and linking accurate asthma symptom perception to decreased asthma morbidity (Fritz G, et al., Ethnic differences in perception of lung function: A factor in pediatric asthma disparities? Am J Respir Crit Care Med 182:12–18, 2010; Klein RB, et al., The Asthma Risk Grid: Clinical interpretation of symptom perception, Allergy Asthma Proc 251–256, 2004). The pilot study tests a paradigm that allows for the examination of the correspondence of children's assessment of their upper airway functioning with actual values of upper airway flow through the use of a portable, handheld nasal peak flowmeter. Nine children with persistent asthma were evaluated over a 4-week period. The article describes the rhinitis perceptual accuracy paradigm and reviews the results of a pilot study, showing a large proportion of inaccurate rhinitis symptoms “guesses” by the sample of children with persistent asthma. Patterns of inaccuracy, rhinitis control, and asthma morbidity are also described. Directions for future work are reviewed. The development of clinical tools to evaluate children's accuracy of rhinitis symptoms are needed, given the central role of the self-assessment of symptoms in guideline-based care. Accurate perception of the severity of rhinitis symptoms may enhance rhinitis control, lessen the burden of asthma, and prevent unnecessary emergency use among this high-risk group of children.
doi:10.2500/ar.2013.4.0060
PMCID: PMC3793113  PMID: 24124637
Allergy; asthma; children; perceptual accuracy; rhinitis; treatment; upper airway
5.  Identifying Individual, Cultural and Asthma-Related Risk and Protective Factors Associated With Resilient Asthma Outcomes in Urban Children and Families 
Journal of Pediatric Psychology  2012;37(4):424-437.
Objective The goal of this study is to identify individual, family/cultural, and illness-related protective factors that may minimize asthma morbidity in the context of multiple urban risks in a sample of inner-city children and families. Methods Participating families are from African-American (33), Latino (51) and non-Latino white (47) backgrounds. A total of 131 children with asthma (56% male), ages 6–13 years and their primary caregivers were included. Results Analyses supported the relationship between cumulative risks and asthma morbidity across children of the sample. Protective processes functioned differently by ethnic group. For example, Latino families exhibited higher levels of family connectedness, and this was associated with lower levels of functional limitation due to asthma, in the context of risks. Conclusions This study demonstrates the utility of examining multilevel protective processes that may guard against urban risks factors to decrease morbidity. Intervention programs for families from specific ethnic groups can be tailored to consider individual, family-based/cultural and illness-related supports that decrease stress and enhance aspects of asthma treatment.
doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jss002
PMCID: PMC3415979  PMID: 22408053
asthma outcomes; cultural factors; inner city; pediatric asthma; protective factors
7.  Sleep and allergic disease: A summary of the literature and future directions for research 
Atopic diseases, such as asthma and allergic rhinitis, are common conditions that can influence sleep and subsequent daytime functioning. Children and patients with allergic conditions from ethnic minority groups might be particularly vulnerable to poor sleep and compromised daytime functioning because of the prevalence of these illnesses in these groups and the high level of morbidity. Research over the past 10 years has shed light on the pathophysiologic mechanisms (eg, inflammatory mediators) involved in many atopic diseases that can underlie sleep disruptions as a consequence of the presence of nocturnal symptoms. Associations between nocturnal symptoms and sleep and poorer quality of life as a result of missed sleep have been demonstrated across studies. Patients with severe illness and poor control appear to bear the most burden in terms of sleep impairment. Sleep-disordered breathing is also more common in patients with allergic diseases. Upper and lower airway resistance can increase the risk for sleep-disordered breathing events. In patients with allergic rhinitis, nasal congestion is a risk factor for apnea and snoring. Finally, consistent and appropriate use of medications can minimize nocturnal asthma or allergic symptoms that might disrupt sleep. Despite these advances, there is much room for improvement in this area. A summary of the sleep and allergic disease literature is reviewed, with methodological, conceptual, and clinical suggestions presented for future research.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.06.026
PMCID: PMC3576835  PMID: 22867694
Sleep; allergic disease; asthma; allergic rhinitis; atopic dermatitis
8.  Immigration and Acculturation-Related Factors and Asthma Morbidity in Latino Children* 
Journal of Pediatric Psychology  2011;36(10):1130-1143.
Objective This article presents a summary of findings from asthma studies focusing on immigration and acculturation-related factors. A study examining associations between these processes, family cohesion and social support networks, and asthma morbidity in a sample of Dominican and Puerto Rican caregivers residing in the mainland U.S., is also described. Methods Latino children with asthma (n = 232), ages 7–16 (49% female) and their caregivers completed interview-based questionnaires on immigration and acculturation-related processes, family characteristics, and asthma morbidity. Results The frequency of ED use due to asthma may be higher for children of caregivers born in Puerto Rico. Acculturative stress levels were higher for Puerto Rican born caregivers residing in the mainland U.S. Conclusion Asthma-related educational and intervention programs for Latino children and families should be tailored to consider the effects that the immigration and acculturation experience can have on asthma management. Specific family-based supports focused on decreasing stress related to the acculturation process, and increasing social and family support around the asthma treatment process may help to reduce asthma morbidity in Latino children.
doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsr041
PMCID: PMC3247793  PMID: 21745811
acculturation; asthma morbidity; immigration
9.  Missed sleep and asthma morbidity in urban children 
Background
Children living in urban environments have many risk factors for disrupted sleep, including environmental disturbances, stressors related to ethnic minority status, and higher rates of stress and anxiety. Asthma can further disrupt sleep in children, but little research has examined the effects of missed sleep on asthma morbidity.
Objective
To examine the associations among missed sleep, asthma-related quality of life (QoL), and indicators of asthma morbidity in urban children with asthma from Latino, African American, and non-Latino white backgrounds. Given the importance of anxiety as a trigger for asthma symptoms and the link between anxiety and disrupted sleep, the associations among anxiety, asthma morbidity indicators, and missed sleep were also tested.
Methods
Parents of 147 children ages 6 to 13 years completed measures of asthma morbidity and missed sleep, parental QoL, and child behavior.
Results
Higher reports of missed sleep were related to more frequent school absences, more activity limitations, and lower QoL across the sample. The associations between missed sleep and asthma morbidity were stronger for Latino children compared with non-Latino white and African American children. For children with higher anxiety, the associations between missed sleep and asthma morbidity were stronger than for children with lower anxiety.
Conclusion
Results offer preliminary support for missed sleep as a contributor to daily functioning of children with asthma in urban neighborhoods. Missed sleep may be more relevant to Latino families. Furthermore, anxiety may serve as a link between sleep and asthma morbidity because higher anxiety may exacerbate the effects of disrupted sleep on asthma.
doi:10.1016/j.anai.2012.05.015
PMCID: PMC3426919  PMID: 22727156
10.  Conundrums in childhood asthma severity, control, and health care use: Puerto Rico versus Rhode Island 
Background
The lifetime prevalence of self-reported asthma among Puerto Ricans is very high, with increased asthma hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and mortality rates. Differences in asthma severity between the mainland and island, however, remain largely unknown.
Objective
We sought to characterize differences in asthma severity and control among 4 groups: (1) Island Puerto Ricans, (2) Rhode Island (RI) Puerto Ricans, (3) RI Dominicans, and (4) RI whites.
Methods
Eight hundred five children aged 7 to 15 years completed a diagnostic clinic session, including a formal interview, physical examination, spirometry, and allergy testing. Using a visual grid adapted from the Global Initiative for Asthma, asthma specialists practicing in each site determined an asthma severity rating. A corresponding level of asthma control was determined by using a computer algorithm.
Results
Island Puerto Ricans had significantly milder asthma severity compared with RI Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and whites (P < .001). Island Puerto Ricans were not significantly different from RI whites in asthma control. RI Puerto Ricans showed a trend toward less control compared with island Puerto Ricans (P = .061). RI Dominicans had the lowest rate of controlled asthma. Paradoxically, island Puerto Ricans had more emergency department visits in the past 12 months (P < .001) compared with the 3 RI groups.
Conclusions
Potential explanations for the paradoxic finding of milder asthma in island Puerto Ricans in the face of high health care use are discussed. Difficulties in determining guideline-based composite ratings for severity versus control are explored in the context of disparate groups.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2009.05.014
PMCID: PMC3380616  PMID: 19615729
Asthma; severity; control; clinical guidelines; Global Initiative for Asthma; Latino; Puerto Rican; Dominican; Rhode Island; health care use
11.  Asthma symptom perception and obesity in children☆ 
Biological Psychology  2009;84(1):135-141.
This study examined the relationship between obesity and asthma symptom perception in 200 youth with asthma. Repeated subjective and objective peak flow measurements were summarized using the Asthma Risk Grid (Klein et al., 2004), resulting in Accurate, Symptom Magnification and Danger Zone scores. Analyses were stratified by age and included ethnicity.
For younger children, obesity was not significantly related to perception scores. For older children, a significant obesity-by-ethnicity interaction for Accurate Symptom Perception scores indicated that obese white children had lower accuracy than white nonobese children, while there was no difference for obese versus nonobese minority children. Obesity was also related to higher Symptom Magnification scores regardless of ethnicity for older children.
These findings suggest that obesity may complicate asthma management by interfering with the ability to accurately perceive symptoms for some patients. More remains to be learned about the role of sociodemographic factors underlying this relationship.
doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2009.11.007
PMCID: PMC3278964  PMID: 19941934
Asthma; Body mass index; Obesity; Symptom perception; Children
12.  Multiple Urban and Asthma-Related Risks and Their Association with Asthma Morbidity in Children 
Journal of Pediatric Psychology  2007;32(5):582-595.
Objective
To determine whether a multi-dimensional cumulative risk index (CRI) is a stronger predictor of asthma morbidity in urban, school-aged children with asthma, than poverty or severity alone.
Methods
A total of 163 children with asthma, ages 7–15 years (42% female; 69% ethnic minority) and their primary caregivers completed interview-based questionnaires, focusing on potential cultural, contextual, and asthma-specific risks that can impact asthma morbidity.
Results
Higher levels of cumulative risks were associated with more asthma morbidity, after controlling for poverty level or asthma severity. Analyses by ethnic group and subgroup also supported the relationship between the CRI and specific indices of asthma morbidity.
Conclusions
This study demonstrates the utility of multiple-dimensional risk models for predicting variations in asthma morbidity in urban children. Research efforts with urban families who have children with asthma need to consider the context of urban poverty as it relates to children’s cultural backgrounds and specific asthma outcomes.
doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsl050
PMCID: PMC3274817  PMID: 17218338
asthma risks; urban
13.  Cultural-Related, Contextual, and Asthma-Specific Risks Associated with Asthma Morbidity in Urban Children 
The objective of this study was to examine associations between specific dimensions of the multidimensional cumulative risk index (CRI) and asthma morbidity in urban, school-aged children from African American, Latino and Non-Latino White backgrounds. An additional goal of the study was to identify the proportion of families that qualify for high-risk status on each dimension of the CRI by ethnic group. A total of 264 children with asthma, ages 7–15 (40% female; 76% ethnic minority) and their primary caregivers completed interview-based questionnaires assessing cultural, contextual, and asthma-specific risks that can impact asthma morbidity. Higher levels of asthma-related risks were associated with more functional morbidity for all groups of children, despite ethnic group background. Contextual and cultural risk dimensions contributed to more morbidity for African-American and Latino children. Analyses by Latino ethnic subgroup revealed that contextual and cultural risks are significantly related to more functional morbidity for Puerto Rican children compared to Dominican children. Findings suggest which type of risks may more meaningfully contribute to variations in asthma morbidity for children from specific ethnic groups. These results can inform culturally sensitive clinical interventions for urban children with asthma whose health outcomes lag far behind their non-Latino White counterparts.
doi:10.1007/s10880-009-9178-3
PMCID: PMC3266227  PMID: 20157798
Pediatric asthma; Cumulative risks; Ethnic minority; Urban
14.  Access to and Use of Asthma Health Services Among Latino Children: The Rhode Island-Puerto Rico Asthma Center Study 
Medical Care Research and Review  2011;68(6):683-698.
This study determines asthma-related health care access and utilization patterns for Latino children of Puerto Rican and Dominican origin residing in Rhode Island (RI) and Latino children residing in Puerto Rico (Island). Data included 804 families of children with persistent asthma recruited from clinics. Island children were less likely to receive regular asthma care and care from a consistent provider and more likely to have been to the emergency department and hospitalized for asthma than RI children. Island children were 2.33 times more likely to have used the emergency department for asthma compared with RI non-Latino White (NLW) children. Latino children residing in both Island and RI were less likely to have used specialty care and more likely to have had a physician visit for asthma in the past year than RI NLW children. The differences might reflect the effects of the different delivery systems on pediatric health care utilization and asthma management.
doi:10.1177/1077558711404434
PMCID: PMC3266228  PMID: 21536604
asthma; Hispanic Americans; Latino; children; health service accessibility; health care utilization; Puerto Rico
15.  Beliefs and Barriers to Medication Use in Parents of Latino Children With Asthma 
Pediatric Pulmonology  2009;44(9):892-898.
Summary
Objective
Disparities in asthma outcomes exist between Latino and non-Latino white (NLW) children. We examined rates of medication use, medication beliefs, and perceived barriers to obtaining medication in US and island Puerto Rican parents of children with asthma
Hypotheses
Island PR parents would report the lowest rates of controller medication use, followed by RI Latino and RI NLW parents; Latino parents would report more medication concerns than NLW parents; and Island PR parents would report the most barriers to medication use.
Study Design
Five hundred thirty families of children with persistent asthma participated, including 231 Island PR, 111 RI NLW, and 188 RI Latino. Parents completed survey measures.
Results
Group differences were found on reported use of ICS (X2 = 50.96, P <0.001), any controller medication (X2 = 56.49, P <0.001), and oral steroids (X2 = 10.87, P <0.01). Island PR parents reported a greater frequency of barriers to medication use than the other two groups (X2 = 61.13, P <0.001). Latino parents in both sites expressed more medication concerns than NLW parents (F = 20.18, P <0.001). Medication necessity was associated with ICS use in all three groups (all P’s <0.01). Medication concerns were positively associated with ICS use in PR only (OR = 1.64, P <0.05).
Conclusions
Differences in medication beliefs and the ability to obtain medications may explain the reported disparity in controller medication use. Further studies are needed to evaluate these obstacles to medication use.
doi:10.1002/ppul.21074
PMCID: PMC3266229  PMID: 19672958
disparities; adherence; asthma; ethnicity; childhood; medication use
16.  Sleep and Culture in Children with Medical Conditions 
Journal of Pediatric Psychology  2010;35(9):915-926.
Objectives To provide an integrative review of the existing literature on the interrelationships among sleep, culture, and medical conditions in children. Methods A comprehensive literature search was conducted using PubMed, Medline, and PsychINFO computerized databases and bibliographies of relevant articles. Results Children with chronic illnesses experience more sleep problems than healthy children. Cultural beliefs and practices are likely to impact the sleep of children with chronic illnesses. Few studies have examined cultural factors affecting the relationship between sleep and illness, but existing evidence suggests the relationship between sleep and illness is exacerbated for diverse groups. Conclusions Sleep is of critical importance to children with chronic illnesses. Cultural factors can predispose children both to sleep problems and to certain medical conditions. Additional research is needed to address the limitations of the existing literature, and to develop culturally sensitive interventions to treat sleep problems in children with chronic illnesses.
doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsq016
PMCID: PMC3708537  PMID: 20332222
children; chronic illness; culture; ethnicity; sleep
17.  Differences in Environmental Control and Asthma Outcomes Among Urban Latino, African American, and Non–Latino White Families 
Latino and African American children with asthma are at increased risk for asthma morbidity compared with non–Latino White children. Environmental control (ie, environmental exposures and family strategies to control them) may contribute to greater asthma morbidity for ethnic minority children living in urban environments. This study examined ethnic differences in a semi-structured assessment of environmental control, associations between environmental control and asthma outcomes (asthma control, functional limitation, and emergency department [ED] use), and ethnic differences in environmental triggers in a sample of urban Latino, African American, and non–Latino White families. One hundred thirty-three children (6–13 years of age) and their caregivers completed demographic questionnaires, measures of asthma control and morbidity, and a semi-structured interview assessing environmental control. Reported environmental control differed significantly by ethnicity (P<0.05), with Latino families reporting higher levels of environmental control. Reported environmental control was significantly associated with asthma control (P<0.017) and functional limitation (P<0.017). Reported environmental control and ED use were significantly associated in Latino families (P<0.05). Non–Latino White and African American families reported more secondhand smoke exposure than Latino families (P<0.001). Latino families reported more optimal home environmental control than other ethnic groups. Substantial ethnic differences in asthma triggers suggest that observed ethnic disparities in asthma may be due, at least in part, to differences in the home environment.
doi:10.1089/ped.2011.0081
PMCID: PMC3255502  PMID: 22276226
18.  Child and Family Psychiatric and Psychological Factors Associated With Child Physical Health Problems 
To examine associations among Puerto Rican children's physical health problems and children's internalizing disorders, parental psychopathology and acculturative stress, and family factors. A population-based probability sample of 2491 Puerto Rican children, aged between 5 and 13 years, and caregivers from the South Bronx and the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico participated in this study. The parent version of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-IV was used to assess children's internalizing disorders. Children's anxiety disorders, parental psychopathology, and acculturative stress were associated with childhood asthma, abdominal pain, and headaches. Children's depressive disorders, maternal acceptance, and family functioning were associated with abdominal pain and headaches. Parents of children living in Puerto Rico were more likely to report physical health problems in their children than in the Bronx. Children's internalizing disorders, parental psychopathology, and acculturative stress may be important areas to target among Puerto Rican children with physical health problems.
doi:10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181d61271
PMCID: PMC2958697  PMID: 20386256
Abdominal pain; asthma; headaches; mental health; Puerto Rican

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