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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2007 Oct 1;176(7):644-9. Epub 2007 Jun 7.

The role of the social environment in children and adolescents with asthma.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. echen@psych.ubc.ca

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Biopsychosocial models of asthma have been proposed in the literature, but few empirical tests of social factors at various levels of influence have been conducted.

OBJECTIVES:

To test associations of neighborhood, peer, and family factors with asthma outcomes in youth, and to determine the pathways through which these social factors operate.

METHODS:

Observational study of youths with asthma (n = 78).

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

Youths completed questionnaires about neighborhood problems, peer support, and family support. Biological (IgE, eosinophil count, production of IL-4) and behavioral (youth smoking, exposure to smoke, adherence to medications) pathways were measured. Asthma symptoms and pulmonary function were assessed in the laboratory and at home for 2 weeks. Lower levels of family support were associated with greater symptoms (beta coefficients: -0.26 to -0.33, P < 0.05) and poorer pulmonary function (beta: 0.30, P < 0.05) via biological pathways (Z statistics from 1.19 to 1.51, P < 0.05). Higher levels of neighborhood problems were associated with greater symptoms (beta coefficients: 0.27-0.33, P < 0.05) via behavioral pathways related to smoking (Z statistics = 1.40, P < 0.05). Peer support was not associated with symptoms or pulmonary function.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study indicates that family factors may affect youths' asthma via physiologic changes, whereas community factors may help shape the health behaviors of youths with asthma.

PMID:
17556714
PMCID:
PMC1994239
DOI:
10.1164/rccm.200610-1473OC
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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