A Qualitative Exploration of Asthma Self-Management Beliefs and Practices in Puerto Rican Families


Puerto Rican children suffer higher asthma morbidity than children of any other racial/ethnic group in the U.S. This study was intended to describe asthma self-management behaviors in Puerto Rican youth. Key informant interviews (n=5) and focus groups (n=4) were conducted. Informants were community pediatricians and community-based organization employees. The focus groups included Puerto Rican parents of children with asthma, children with asthma in grades 4-8, and adolescents with asthma in grades 9-12 (32 participants total). Data were audio-recorded, transcribed, and translated. Two separate analysts performed theme extraction using naturalistic inquiry. Children were assuming asthma self-management responsibilities at very young ages. The adolescents felt they needed more parental assistance with their asthma. Asthma management techniques that involved manipulation of the environment or emotions were the most popular. Fear of asthma, need for more general education and smoking cessation resources, and community supports for asthma were discussed. These findings have important implications for future interventions.