Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Arizona Reviews Parent and Child Asthma Illness Representations

Researchers at the University of Arizona College of Nursing and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health conducted a systematic review of the current literature on parent and child asthma illness representations and their consequent impact on parent-child asthma shared management. The research is published in the Journal of Asthma.

This systematic review was conducted in concordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. An electronic search of five computerized databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane, and EMBASE) was conducted using the following key words: asthma, illness representation, and child. Due to the limited number of articles identified, the search was broadened to include illness perceptions as well.

Studies were included if they were specific to asthma and included parent and/or child asthma illness representations or perception, were published after 2000, and available in English. Fifteen articles were selected for inclusion. All of the articles are descriptive studies that used cross-sectional designs. Seven of the studies used parent and child participants, eight used parents only, and none used only child participants.

None of the selected studies describe child asthma illness representations, and only three describe parental asthma illness representations. Domains of illness representations, including symptoms, timeline, consequences, cause, and controllability were described in the remaining articles. Symptoms and controllability appear to have the most influence on parental asthma management practices. Parents prefer symptomatic or intermittent asthma management and frequently cite concerns regarding daily controller medication use. Parents also primarily rely on their own objective symptom observations rather than the child’s report of symptoms.

The researchers found that Asthma illness representations are an important area of future study to better understand parent-child shared asthma management

Parent and child asthma illness representations: a systematic review.

Journal of Asthma 2016.