Teens and parents: Different preferences on asthma control

teenagers2A new study by AllerGen investigators compared the views of parents of young children with asthma and adolescents with asthma on factors they perceived to be important in asthma control.

The AllerGen-funded study, published in the November 2015 issue of BMC Pulmonary Medicine, found that parents placed the most importance on the absence of night-time symptoms of asthma, while teens felt that being able to take part in physical activity without limitations was the most important parameter of asthma control.

“Clinical practice guidelines for asthma place equal weight on achieving various parameters of asthma control, but fail to reflect the fact that parents and children have different preferences with regard to the parameters they feel are important,” says the study’s senior author, Dr. Wendy Ungar, an AllerGen investigator and Senior Scientist in Child Health Evaluative Sciences at The Hospital for Sick Children.

The researchers surveyed 52 parents of children with asthma and 44 adolescents with asthma to quantify preferences regarding night-time symptoms, wheezing/chest tightening, changes in asthma medications, emergency visits and physical activity limitations.

The study revealed that parents had the strongest positive preference (most favourable) for the absence of night-time symptoms of asthma, and the strongest negative preference (least favourable) for 10 emergency room visits per year. Teens demonstrated the strongest positive preference for the absence of physical activity limitations and the strongest negative preference for 10 physical activity limitations per month.

“Asthma education and asthma management plans engage both parents and their children, but to be effective they must consider the preferences of both groups,” says Dr. Ungar.