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Parents' perceptions can hamper kids' asthma care, study finds
Date:9/3/2007

The next battle in the war on asthma symptom control could be a psychological one, a new study finds.

It turns out that Mom and Dads leeriness towards their childrens asthma medications simply thinking theyre not essential, or believing they pose health risks that outweigh the benefits might explain to some extent why so many of the 10 million US children with the wheezing, coughing and trouble-breathing disease do not take their prescriptions regularly and wind up suffering avoidable symptoms.

Children today can be virtually symptom-free, thanks to modern preventive medications, said Kelly Conn, M.P.H., a senior research coordinator at the University of Rochester Medical Center and lead author of the study that published in this months Pediatrics. But kids rely on their parents to make health decisions for them, so we need to know what parents are thinking as we partner with them to achieve this goal.

Only about half of all prescribed preventive asthma medications are actually taken daily as directed.

To see if parents beliefs about their childrens medicines might be influencing how dependably they administered the drugs, the Rochester team analyzed data from parents of 622 children in Southeast Michigan who reported use of at least one preventive asthma medication.

First, parents were asked to complete a Beliefs About Medications Questionnaire (BMQ), a survey that measures two often-conflicting realms of parents perceptions of their childrens medications the necessity, or the extent to which they believed a childs sickness necessitated taking it, versus the concern, or the extent to which a parent worried about possible risks associated with the drugs, such as side effects and potential for dependency.

Not unlike a cost-benefit analysis, a differential score was calculated by subtracting the concern score from the necessity score; this served as a weighed appraisal of each parents beliefs.

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Contact: Becky Jones
rebecca_jones@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-8490
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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