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Asthma--quality of life for Swedish children.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing.
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2005 (English)In: Journal of Clinical Nursing, ISSN 0962-1067, Vol. 14, no 6, 739-749 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to describe how Swedish children with asthma experience their QoL and to search for possible associations between their experience of QoL and some determinants. BACKGROUND: Asthma is a chronic disorder that can restrict a child's life, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually, and this has an impact on a child's quality of life (QoL). METHODS: Two hundred and twenty-six children with asthma (37% girls and 63% boys) and 371 parents of these children participated in the study. The Paediatric Asthma Quality Of Life Questionnaire (PAQLQ) was used to measure the children's QoL. This questionnaire reveals how the children's asthma interferes with their normal activities, their symptoms and how this interference has made them feel. RESULTS: The findings show that most children with asthma estimated their QoL towards the positive end of the scale. The children reported more impairment in the domain of activities than in emotions and symptoms. The most commonly restricted activity was the children's ability to run. Significant associations were found between a higher QoL outcome and being a boy, as well as living in the south of Sweden. A higher QoL was also found in children with mothers older than 40 years of age and in children with cohabiting parents. It was also associated with their fathers' QoL in a positive direction. CONCLUSIONS: It is important that children with asthma will maintain a high QoL. In this study the children were being treated with asthma medication when they evaluated their QoL. Perhaps this fact might have influenced the results in a positive direction. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: The findings of our study underline the importance of accurate nursing assessment including background variables of the children. Nurses also have to be aware that some of the children in the study have a low QoL and these children must not be forgotten. In addition, as caring tends to focus on the patients' limitations, another important issue for nurses is to try to discover those aspects in a child's daily life that contribute to a high QoL in order to improve and maintain the child's wellbeing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 14, no 6, 739-749 p.
Keyword [en]
Activities of Daily Living, Adaptation; Psychological, Adolescent, Adult, Asthma/nursing/*psychology, Attitude to Health, Child, Child Psychology, Chronic Disease, Cost of Illness, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Health Status, Humans, Male, Needs Assessment, Nurse's Role, Nursing Assessment, Nursing Methodology Research, Parents/*psychology, Prospective Studies, Quality of Life, Questionnaires, Severity of Illness Index, Sex Factors, Sickness Impact Profile, Sweden
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-6596DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2005.01135.xPubMedID: 15946282OAI: diva2:146265
Available from: 2008-01-11 Created: 2008-01-11 Last updated: 2009-11-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. "Jag vill också ha en hund ...": en studie av barn och tonåringar med astma och deras mammor
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"Jag vill också ha en hund ...": en studie av barn och tonåringar med astma och deras mammor
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
"I also want a dog ..." : a study of children and teenagers with asthma and their mothers
Abstract [en]

Aim: The overall aim of this thesis is to illuminate meanings of being a child with asthma, to describe what strategies they use to manage their daily life, and how they estimate their quality of life. The aim is also to describe how family relations might be influenced by the child’s asthma disease.

Methods: Informants in three qualitative studies were 37 children with asthma and 17 mothers of children with asthma. Informants in a quantitative quality of life study were 226 children with asthma. The data collections were undertaken by means of interviews, observations, and a questionnaire (PAQLQ). The data was analysed by means of phenomenological-hermeneutic method, grounded theory, and statistics.

Results: A meaning of being a child with asthma is to strive to live a normal life, which means to be able to participate in the same activities as healthy friends. According to the children, participation is facilitated by confidence in one’s own knowledge, by other people’s wish to help, and by confidence in medicines. On occasions when the disease becomes an obstacle to participation, the children feel like outsiders, and talk about feelings of deprivation, guilt, loneliness, anxiety, and fear. When observing and interviewing teenagers with asthma they showed and expressed that their core concern was not letting the disease get the upper hand over life. To manage this core concern they used three strategies: keeping a distance to the disease, challenging the disease, and taking the disease into consideration. Boys mainly keep a distance to the disease while girls mainly take the disease into consideration. Challenging the disease seems to be a strategy used by both girls and boys. Differences between girls and boys were also seen when children with asthma estimated their quality of life, even though they both estimate their quality of life as comparatively high. A significant association was found between a higher quality of life and being a boy, compared to being a girl. The core concern in families of a child with asthma was found to be disease-engendered uncertainty. The mothers experience themselves as always being available for the child with asthma, owing to the unpredictability of the disease. Control and tight bonds therefore characterize the relation between the mother and the sick child. Being constantly available for the child with asthma, decreases the mothers’ availability for other family members and these relations are described as being characterised by feelings of being forsaken and lack of understanding.

Conclusion: One conclusion drawn from this thesis is that life with asthma includes moments of wellbeing for both children with asthma and their mothers, but also moments when they experience that the disease gets the upper hand over life. In assisting them it is of great value to create a milieu where the individuals dare to talk about their experiences and to be aware of possible differences between boys and girls. It is also important never to judge, but to customize care, based on the needs of each individual.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Omvårdnad, 2005. 83 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 949
Nursing, child, adolescence, asthma, quality of life, gender, strategies, pets, family, relations, phenomenological research, grounded theory, Omvårdnad
National Category
Research subject
Caring Sciences
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-496 (URN)91-7305-841-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-04-14, Aulan, Vårdvetarhuset, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2005-04-09 Created: 2005-04-09 Last updated: 2009-11-27Bibliographically approved

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