Living with childhood asthma: parental perceptions of risk in the household environment and strategies for coping

Crosland, Ann, Gordon, Isabel and Payne, Annette (2009) Living with childhood asthma: parental perceptions of risk in the household environment and strategies for coping. Primary Health Care Research & Development, 10 (2). pp. 109-116. ISSN 1463-4236

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1463423608001011

Abstract

Aim
To explore parents’ perceptions of environmental household risks to their child’s asthma and to identify the strategies they adopt in relation to these perceived risks.

Background
The prevalence of childhood asthma is increasing worldwide and especially in the UK. Asthma is more common in areas of socio-economic disadvantage. Household environmental factors have been implicated in some of this increase. A number of factors in the home environment have been found to act as triggers to asthma symptoms, including high humidity levels, poor ventilation, mould, second-hand tobacco smoke and pet allergens. Little is known about how parents, as the main care-givers and decision makers in the home, perceive and cope with the risks posed by these triggers.

Methods
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of parents of 32 children with asthma aged 4 to 16 years and living in a socio-economically disadvantaged urban community in the North East of England. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and analysed using constant comparison techniques.

Findings
All parents were aware of some of the risks their children faced at home. Some appeared to know more than others and coping styles varied. A typology of three groups of parents was identified: those who actively seek advice and adopt clear preventative strategies (preventers); those who minimize the risks and only react when things go wrong (reactors); and those who engage in compensatory activities in an attempt to trade-off between harms and benefits (compensators). The unifying themes underpinning these different styles are that all parents are motivated to maintain normal family life but that they adopt different strategies to achieve this.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: childhood asthma, parental attitudes, household risks, primary care
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > School of Health, Community and Education Studies > Public Health and Wellbeing
Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2011 15:49
Last Modified: 10 May 2017 16:00
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1426

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