Parental attitudes towards the management of asthma in ethnic minorities
Objectives: Children from Indian and Pakistani (South Asian) and black minority groups have relatively high rates of attendance at accident and emergency (A&E) departments and admissions to hospital in the UK. We examine parents’ beliefs and management of childhood asthma that possibly contribute to their greater use of hospital services. Design: Questionnaire survey. Setting: Three London hospitals serving multicultural communities with a high proportion of South Asian subjects. Participants: Parent(s) accompanying 150 children aged 3–9 years with asthma attending asthma clinics and A&E departments. Main outcome measures: White, South Asian and ‘‘other’’ ethnic group parents were compared regarding their children’s symptoms and asthma in relation to why their children had developed asthma, use of asthma treatments, views about the prognosis of their children’s asthma, and their feelings associated with stigma. Results: South Asian more often than white parents stated that they did not give preventers to their children (odds ratio (OR) 0.30; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.12 to 0.75), that most drugs were ‘‘addictive’’ (OR 3.89; 95% CI 1.47 to 10.27), and that medicines could do more harm than good (OR 3.19; 95% CI 1.22 to 8.34). South Asian and ‘‘other’’ ethnic groups were more reluctant to tell others about their children’s asthma (OR 0.11; 95% CI 0.01 to 1.06 and OR 0.06; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.65, respectively). Conclusion: Cultural perspectives related to ethnicity are key factors in the understanding of asthma management. Health staff should give high priority to eliciting parents’ beliefs regarding management of their children’s asthma.