Factors related to the emotional responses of rural school-aged children who have asthma
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Asthma is a complex, chronic disorder of the airways that is characterized by underlying inflammation, airflow obstruction, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Asthma symptoms can be frightening and can have an effect on the emotional functioning Quality of Life (QOL) of school-aged children who have asthma. The purpose of this exploratory, descriptive, cross-sectional, correlational study was to explore the influence of factors identified in the literature on school-aged children’s emotional responses to asthma. Guiding this study was a theoretical model that proposed that the impact of chronic illness severity on QOL is potentially mediated by both resource and barrier factors. The population of interest was 85 school-aged children (ages 6-12) and parents of children who have asthma that were recruited from participants already enrolled in year 4 of the Asthma in Central Texas (ACT) study (R01NR007770, Sharon D. Horner, P.I.) at The University of Texas at Austin. Significant inverse correlations were found between asthma related child emotional functioning QOL and each of the following variables: asthma severity, r = -.30, p < .01; child internalizing behaviors, r = -.26, p < .05, and child externalizing behaviors, r = -.43, p < .001. Significant inverse relationships were found between caregiver emotional functioning QOL and each of the following variables: asthma severity, r = -.39, p < .001; child internalizing behaviors, r = -.22, p < .05 and child externalizing behaviors, r = -.25, p < .05. Multiple regression analysis revealed that asthma severity and child externalizing problems accounted for 26% of the variance in child emotional functioning QOL. No moderators or mediators were identified. Findings from this study imply that externalizing problem behaviors of school-aged children may be a predictor of their negative feelings about their asthma. Nursing educators should consider including the emotional impact of asthma on children in nursing curriculums as this may ultimately influence health care providers to more skillfully address this important issue in both assessment and intervention settings.