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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Sep;126(3):552-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.07.014.

Exposure to community violence is associated with asthma hospitalizations and emergency department visits.

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  • 1Section of Allergy and Immunology, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



Exposure to community violence (ECV) has been associated with asthma morbidity of children living in inner-city neighborhoods.


To examine with prospective longitudinal data whether ECV is independently associated with asthma-related health outcomes in adults.


Adults with moderate-severe asthma, recruited from clinics serving inner-city neighborhoods, completed questionnaires covering sociodemographics, asthma severity, and ECV and were followed for 26 weeks. Longitudinal models were used to assess unadjusted and adjusted associations of subsequent asthma outcomes (emergency department [ED] visits, hospitalizations, FEV(1), quality of life).


A total of 397 adults, 47 +/- 14 years old, 73% women, 70% African American, 7% Latino, mean FEV(1) 66% +/- 19%, 133 with hospitalizations and 222 with ED visits for asthma in the year before entry, were evaluated. Ninety-one reported ECV. Controlling for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and household income, those exposed to violence had 2.27 (95% CI, 1.32-3.90) times more asthma-related ED visits per month and 2.49 (95% CI, 1.11-5.60) times more asthma-related hospitalizations per month over the 26-week study period compared with those unexposed. Violence-exposed participants also had 1.71 (95% CI, 1.14-2.56) times more overall ED visits per month and 1.72 (95% CI, 0.95-3.11) times more overall hospitalizations per month from any cause. Asthma-related quality of life was lower in the violence-exposed participants (-0.40; 95% CI, -0.77 to -0.025; P = .04). Effect modification by depressive symptoms was only statistically significant for the ECV association with overall ED visits and quality-of-life outcomes (P < .01).


In adults, ECV is associated with increased asthma hospitalizations and emergency care for asthma or any condition and with asthma-related quality of life.

Copyright (c) 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

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