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  1. Karen B. Schmaling

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0089

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Schmaling, K. B. 2010. Asthma. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Asthma is characterized by inflammation of the airways, leading to hyperresponsiveness and/or and obstruction, which result in cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, and other clinical symptoms. Asthma often begins in childhood and is the most common chronic illness of childhood. Host (e.g., genetic) and environmental (e.g., allergens, stress) factors appear to interact to produce altered immune system responses that result in inflammation. Asthma is more prevalent in children (8.5%) than in adults (6.7%), females than males, African Americans than whites, those of Puerto Rican than Mexican origin among Hispanics, and among impoverished persons versus those at or above the federal poverty level (Moorman et al., 2007).