Latino children of Caribbean descent remain at high risk for poorly controlled asthma. Controller medications improve asthma control; however, medication adherence remains suboptimal, particularly among minorities. This study assessed socioeconomic, family-based, and parent factors in medication adherence among children with asthma from Rhode Island (RI; Latino and non-Latino white [NLW]) and Puerto Rico.
Data collection occurred as part of a multicenter study of asthma disparities. Our sample included children (ages 7–16) prescribed objectively monitored controller medications (n = 277; 80 island Puerto Rico, 114 RI Latino, 83 RI NLW). Parents completed questionnaires regarding family background and beliefs about medications. Families participated in an interview regarding asthma management. Multilevel analyses (maximum likelihood estimates) accounting for children being nested within site and ethnic group assessed the contribution of social context, family, and parent variables to medication adherence.
Medication adherence differed by ethnic group (F2, 271 = 7.46, P < .01), with NLW families demonstrating the highest levels of adherence. Multilevel models indicated that parental beliefs about medication necessity and family organization regarding medication use were significant predictors of adherence, even for families below the poverty threshold. With family factors in the model, a substantial improvement in model fit occurred (Akaike Information Criterion change of 103.45).
Adherence to controller medications was lower among Latino children in our sample. Targeted interventions that capitalize on existing family resources, emphasize structure, and address parental beliefs about the importance of medications may be of benefit to families from different cultural backgrounds.
asthma; patient nonadherence; disparities
Existing literature highlights a critical gap between science and practice in clinical psychology. The internship year is a “capstone experience”; training in methods of scientific evaluation should be integrated with the development of advanced clinical competencies. We provide a rationale for continued exposure to research during the clinical internship year, including, (a) critical examination and integration of the literature regarding evidence-based treatment and assessment, (b) participation in faculty-based and independent research, and (c) orientation to the science and strategy of grantsmanship. Participation in research provides exposure to new empirical models and can foster the development of applied research questions. Orientation to grantsmanship can yield an initial sense of the “business of science.” Internship provides an important opportunity to examine the challenges to integrating the clinical evidence base into professional practice; for that reason, providing research exposure on internship is an important strategy in training the next generation of pediatric psychologists.
empirically supported treatments; internship; training
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
disparities; adherence; asthma; ethnicity; childhood; medication use
Substantial research has documented pervasive disparities in the prevalence, severity, and morbidity of asthma among minority populations compared to non-Latino whites. The underlying causes of these disparities are not well understood, and as a result, the leverage points to address them remain unclear. A multilevel framework for integrating research in asthma health disparities is proposed in order to advance both future research and clinical practice. The components of the proposed model include health care policies and regulations, operation of the health care system, provider/clinician-level factors, social/environmental factors, and individual/family attitudes and behaviors. The body of research suggests that asthma disparities have multiple, complex and inter-related sources. Disparities occur when individual, environmental, health system, and provider factors interact with one another over time. Given that the causes of asthma disparities are complex and multilevel, clinical strategies to address these disparities must therefore be comparably multilevel and target many aspects of asthma care. Clinical Implications: Several strategies that could be applied in clinical settings to reduce asthma disparities are described including the need for routine assessment of the patient’s beliefs, financial barriers to disease management, and health literacy, and the provision of cultural competence training and communication skills to health care provider groups.
Asthma disparities; multi-level model of asthma disparities; clinical recommendations
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.
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.
Caregivers who smoke and have children with asthma are an important group for intervention. Home-based interventions successfully reduce asthma morbidity, yet are costly. This study evaluated the financial return on investment (ROI) of the Parents of Asthmatics Quit Smoking (PAQS) program, a combined asthma education and smoking cessation intervention.
Participants included caregivers (n = 224) that smoked, had a child with asthma, and were enrolled in a Medicaid managed care plan. Participants received nurse-delivered asthma education and smoking counseling in three home visits. Program implementation costs were estimated, and health care expenses were obtained from insurance claims data 12 months pre- and 12 months post intervention. ROI was calculated for all participants, children < 6 years, children 6–18 years, and children with moderate/severe persistent asthma.
Total program implementation cost was $34,481. After intervention, there was increased mean annual refills of beta-agonist (0.51 pre, 1.64 post; p<0.001), and controller medications (0.65 pre, 2.44 post; p<0.001). Reductions were found in mean annual emergency department visits (0.33 pre, 0.14 post; p<0.001), hospitalizations (0.23 pre, 0.08 post; p<0.001), and outpatient visits (2.33 pre, 1.45 post, p<0.001). The program had negative ROI (−21.8%) for the entire sample. The ROI was positive (+106.9) for children < six years, negative (−150.3) for children 6–18, and negligible for moderate/severe persistent asthma (+6.9%).
PAQS was associated with increased medication use and decreased health care utilization. While the overall ROI for PAQS was negative, PAQS had a positive ROI for caregivers of young children with asthma.
Asthma; Pediatrics; Smoking Cessation; Education
The aim of this study was to determine ethnic and site differences in quality of life (QOL) in a sample of Latino (Puerto Rican and Dominican) and non-Latino White (NLW) caregivers of children with asthma in mainland US and Island PR. We also investigated ethnic and site differences in associations between caregiver QOL and indicators of asthma morbidity.
Seven-hundred and eighty-seven children with asthma (7–16 years of age) and their primary caregivers participated. Primary caregivers completed a measure of QOL, child asthma control, and emergency department utilization, among other measures.
Ethnic and site differences were found on total QOL scores (ΔF(1, 783) = 29.46, p < .001). Island PR caregivers reported worse QOL scores than RI Latino and NLW caregivers; RI Latino caregivers reported significantly worse QOL scores than NLW caregivers. In RI Latino and Island PR children, worse caregiver QOL was associated with asthma that was not in control and with 1 or more ED visits.
Latino caregivers may be experiencing a greater level of burden related to their child’s asthma than NLW caregivers. Caregiver QOL in pediatric asthma may be a reflection of broader, contextual stress that some Latino caregivers experience on a daily basis (e.g., cultural beliefs, acculturation). Future research should continue to investigate mechanisms that explain the burden associated with pediatric asthma in Latino families, as well as whether QOL assessments should consider the impact of everyday stressors on caregiver QOL in pediatric asthma.
pediatric asthma; quality of life; caregivers; disparities; ethnicity
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.
asthma outcomes; cultural factors; inner city; pediatric asthma; protective factors
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.
acculturation; asthma morbidity; immigration
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Asthma; severity; control; clinical guidelines; Global Initiative for Asthma; Latino; Puerto Rican; Dominican; Rhode Island; health care use
Objective To examine the reliability and validity of the Family Asthma Management System Scale for low-income African-American children with poor asthma control and caregivers under stress. The FAMSS assesses eight aspects of asthma management from a family systems perspective. Methods Forty-three children, ages 8–13, and caregivers were interviewed with the FAMSS; caregivers completed measures of primary care quality, family functioning, parenting stress, and psychological distress. Children rated their relatedness with the caregiver, and demonstrated inhaler technique. Medical records were reviewed for dates of outpatient visits for asthma. Results The FAMSS demonstrated good internal consistency. Higher scores were associated with adequate inhaler technique, recent outpatient care, less parenting stress and better family functioning. Higher scores on the Collaborative Relationship with Provider subscale were associated with greater perceived primary care quality. Conclusions The FAMSS demonstrated relevant associations with asthma management criteria and family functioning for a low-income, African-American sample.
adherence; asthma; family functioning; parent stress.
The goal of this study was to assess whether the association between asthma attacks and anxiety disorders in youth/young adults is reduced after adjusting for caregivers’ psychiatric disorders. An island-wide probability sample of 641 households in Puerto Rico with youth/young adults between 10 and 25 years old participated along with their caregivers. The Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children and the Composite International Diagnostic Interview were conducted to assess anxiety and depressive disorders. Youth/young adults with an anxiety disorder were more likely to have a lifetime history of asthma attacks versus youth/young adults without an anxiety disorder. Caregivers of participants with asthma attacks were more likely to have major depression than caregivers of participants without asthma attacks. The association between asthma attacks and anxiety disorders in youth was no longer significant after adjustment for caregiver major depression. It is important to consider the role of caregiver depression in asthma-anxiety comorbidity in youth/young adults.
anxiety; asthma; depression; mental health; Puerto Rican
The purpose of this study is to examine the association between child and parent somatic symptom reporting and pediatric asthma morbidity in Latino and non-Latino white children.
The study consists of 786 children, 7 to 15 years of age, in Rhode Island (RI) and Puerto Rico. Children’s and parents’ levels of general somatic symptoms were assessed with well-established self-report measures. Clinician-determined asthma severity was based on reported medication use, asthma symptom history, and spirometry results. Asthma-related health care use and functional morbidity was obtained via parent self-report.
Child and parent reports of general somatic symptoms were significantly related to pediatric asthma functional morbidity when controlling for poverty, parent education, child’s age, and asthma severity. In controlling for covariates, Latino children in RI reported higher levels of somatic symptoms than Island Puerto Rican children, and RI Latino parents reported more somatic symptoms than RI non-Latino white parents (p < .05).
This study replicates and extends to children in previous research showing higher levels of symptom reporting in Latinos relative to whites. Results also provide new insight into the relation between general somatic symptom reports and pediatric asthma. Ethnic differences in somatic symptom reporting may be an important factor underlying asthma disparities between Latino and non-Latino white children.
asthma; health disparities; somatization
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.
Asthma; Body mass index; Obesity; Symptom perception; Children
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.
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.
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.
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.
asthma risks; urban
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.
Pediatric asthma; Cumulative risks; Ethnic minority; Urban
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.
asthma; Hispanic Americans; Latino; children; health service accessibility; health care utilization; Puerto Rico
Epidemiologic studies have documented higher rates of asthma prevalence and morbidity in minority children compared to non-Latino white (NLW) children. Few studies focus on the mechanisms involved in explaining this disparity, and fewer still on the methodological challenges involved in rigorous disparities research.
Objectives and Methods
This article provides an overview of challenges and potential solutions to research design for studies of health disparities. The methodological issues described in this article were framed on an empirical model of asthma health disparities that views disparities as resulting from several factors related to the healthcare system and the individual/community system. The methods used in the Rhode Island–Puerto Rico Asthma Center are provided as examples, illustrating the challenges in executing disparities research.
Several methods are described: distinguishing ethnic/racial differences from methodological artifacts, identifying and adapting culturally sensitive measures to explain disparities, and addressing the challenges involved in determining asthma and its severity in Latino and other minority children. The measures employed are framed within each of the components of the conceptual model presented.
Understanding ethnic and/or cultural disparities in asthma morbidity is a complicated process. Methodologic approaches to studying the problem must reflect this complexity, allowing us to move from documenting disparities to understanding them, and ultimately to reducing them.
asthma; health disparities; Latino; Puerto Rican; children; research methods
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.
Rationale: Disparities in pediatric asthma exist in that Latino children have higher prevalence and greater morbidity from asthma than non–Latino white children. The factors behind these disparities are poorly understood, but ethnic-related variations in children's ability to accurately recognize and report their pulmonary functioning may be a contributing process.
Objectives: To determine (1) if differences exist between Latino and non–Latino white children's perceptual accuracy and (2) whether these differences are related to asthma outcomes.
Methods: Five hundred and twelve children, aged 7–16 years (290 island Puerto Ricans, 115 Rhode Island Latinos, and 107 Rhode Island non-Latino white children) participated in a 5-week home-based protocol in which twice daily they entered subjective estimates of their peak expiratory flow rate into a hand-held, programmable spirometer and then performed spirometry. Their accuracy was summarized as three perceptual accuracy scores. Demographic data, asthma severity, intelligence, emotional expression, and general symptom-reporting tendencies were assessed and covaried in analyses of the relationship of perceptual accuracy to asthma morbidity and health care use.
Measurements and Main Results: Younger age, female sex, lower intelligence, and poverty were associated with lower pulmonary function perception scores. Island Puerto Rican children had the lowest accuracy and highest magnification scores, followed by Rhode Island Latinos; both differed significantly from non–Latino white children. Perceptual accuracy scores were associated with most indices of asthma morbidity.
Conclusions: Controlling for other predictive variables, ethnicity was related to pulmonary function perception ability, as Latino children were less accurate than non–Latino white children. This difference in perceptual ability may contribute to recognized asthma disparities.
childhood asthma; symptom recognition; disparities