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Mental, emotional, and social problems among school children with asthma.

J Asthma. 2008 Aug;45(6):489-93 Collins JE, Gill TK, Chittleborough CR, Martin AJ, Taylor AW, Winefield H. Department of Health, Population Research and Outcome Studies Unit, South Australia.

OBJECTIVES: To use representative population chronic disease and risk factor data to investigate the relationship between asthma and social factors in school-age children.

METHODS: Representative cross-sectional data for children 5 to 15 years of age were collected from 2002 to June 2007 (n = 4,611) in the South Australian Monitoring and Surveillance System (SAMSS) using Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI). Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to investigate the variables that were associated with asthma among children.

RESULTS: The overall prevalence of self-reported asthma among children 5 to 15 years of age was 18.6% (95% CI = 17.5-19.8). Children with asthma were more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem, have been unhappy at school, have been absent from school in the last month, have fair or poor overall health and well-being, have ongoing pain or chronic illness, and less likely to have a group of friends to play with. Asthma was also more prevalent among males and less likely to occur in children from households where the gross annual income was greater than $AU80,000.

CONCLUSIONS: Children with asthma were more likely to be treated for a mental health problem and demonstrate more negative social outcomes as well as poorer overall health and well-being. Asthma management plans need to be sensitive to these psychosocial factors for adequate care of these vulnerable young patients.

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