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J Asthma. 2008 Aug;45(6):489-93. doi: 10.1080/02770900802074802.

Mental, emotional, and social problems among school children with asthma.

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Department of Health, Population Research and Outcome Studies Unit, South Australia.



To use representative population chronic disease and risk factor data to investigate the relationship between asthma and social factors in school-age children.


Representative cross-sectional data for children 5 to 15 years of age were collected from 2002 to June 2007 (n = 4,611) in the South Australian Monitoring and Surveillance System (SAMSS) using Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI). Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to investigate the variables that were associated with asthma among children.


The overall prevalence of self-reported asthma among children 5 to 15 years of age was 18.6% (95% CI = 17.5-19.8). Children with asthma were more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem, have been unhappy at school, have been absent from school in the last month, have fair or poor overall health and well-being, have ongoing pain or chronic illness, and less likely to have a group of friends to play with. Asthma was also more prevalent among males and less likely to occur in children from households where the gross annual income was greater than $AU80,000.


Children with asthma were more likely to be treated for a mental health problem and demonstrate more negative social outcomes as well as poorer overall health and well-being. Asthma management plans need to be sensitive to these psychosocial factors for adequate care of these vulnerable young patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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