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J Asthma. 2013 Feb;50(1):90-6. doi: 10.3109/02770903.2012.743153. Epub 2012 Nov 26.

Minors' attitudes toward peers with asthma: a developmental study.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA.



Peers can play a critical role in asthma management, with attitudes toward friends with asthma hindering or supporting self-management. We explored minors' attitudes toward peers with asthma, testing if attitudes varied by grade, sex, asthma knowledge, and asthma status.


Three hundred and eighty-one students in grades 5-11 (51% female; 51% White, non-Hispanic; 12% with asthma) read five vignettes about peers with asthma, and rated the characters on 10 adjective pairs (e.g., afraid/brave and sad/happy). Three vignettes portrayed an aspect of uncontrolled asthma (asthma-related school absence, asthma-related limited physical activity, and asthma-related school nurse visit). One vignette depicted controlled asthma; one described taking medication publically. We computed a total attitude score for each vignette and a mean attitude score across the three uncontrolled vignettes. Linear regression analyses tested the effect of each predictor (grade, sex, asthma knowledge, and asthma status) on attitudes, as well as the interaction of asthma status with the remaining three predictors.


Grade was the most robust predictor. Participants in higher grades tended to have more favorable attitudes toward peers with asthma, except for the controlled asthma vignette where participants in lower grades had more favorable attitudes. There were significant interactions between grade and asthma status for the stop-running-and-taking-medication-publically vignettes: among those with asthma, participants in higher grades had more favorable attitudes. Sex interacted with asthma status for the overall uncontrolled, absence, and stop-running vignettes; among those with asthma, girls had more favorable attitudes.


With increased grade, minors have better attitudes toward peers with asthma. Living with asthma may normalize asthma. Clinicians can use grade-specific findings to counsel patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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