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Pediatr Pulmonol. 2009 Feb;44(2):183-91. doi: 10.1002/ppul.20972.

Barriers to asthma self-management in adolescents: Relationships to psychosocial factors.

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School of Nursing, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


Asthma morbidity in adolescents often results from inadequate asthma self-management. This study was to explore barriers to self-management perceived by adolescents and to examine the associations between barriers and psychosocial factors including knowledge, attitude and self-efficacy. This cross-sectional study included a total of 126 adolescents with asthma (13-20 years) representing diverse race/ethnicity groups with a wide range of socioeconomic status. Self-reported data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, factor analysis and hierarchical regression. The most frequently endorsed barrier (63%) was adolescents' unwillingness to give up "the things the doctors say I have to give up," followed by difficulty in remembering to take care of their asthma (53%), and then "trying to forget" that they have asthma (50%). Psychosocial factors accounted for 32% of the variance in total barrier perceptions. Factor analysis revealed barriers in four domains including negativity toward providers and the medication regimen, cognitive difficulty, peer/family influence and denial. Self-efficacy was found to be the most influential factor that showed strong negative associations with all four barrier subscales independent of the levels of asthma control and sociodemographic characteristics. Poor attitudes toward asthma were also associated with barriers of cognitive difficulty and social influence after adjusting for other factors. Males consistently reported higher total barriers and barriers of negativity, social influence and denial. The gender differences were not explained by psychosocial and sociodemographic factors. This study suggests that psychosocial factors are strong predictors of barriers to self-management in adolescents. Particularly, promoting self-efficacy may be beneficial in addressing the barriers. Special attention is needed to address the higher propensity for barriers in males.

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