Adolescents with asthma: predictors of quality of life


Patricia V. Burkhart: e-mail:


Title. Adolescents with asthma: predictors of quality of life.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to determine the demographic, personal, interpersonal and illness factors associated with asthma quality of life (QOL), as self-reported by adolescents from the United States of America (USA) and Iceland.

Background.  Asthma affects 12% of children in the USA and an estimated 9% in Iceland. Limited research has addressed asthma QOL for adolescents.

Methods.  This cross-sectional exploratory study included adolescents with asthma (= 15 from the USA; = 15 from Iceland), aged 13–17 years, primarily recruited from paediatric practices in central Kentucky, USA and Reykjavik, Iceland. Data were collected in 2006. Adolescents in the USA (47% male) had a mean age of 14·1 years (sd = 1·5); Icelandic adolescents (73% male) had a mean age of 15·1 years (sd = 1·4). Participants completed questionnaires measuring sociodemographic and asthma characteristics, degree of limitations due to asthma, self-rated health, depressive symptoms and asthma QOL. Multiple regression was used to determine predictors of asthma QOL.

Results.  Gender was statistically significantly associated with QOL. The difference in QOL between adolescents in the USA and Iceland was not statistically significant. Statistically significant predictors of higher asthma QOL were a better rating of overall health (< 0·01), not having had a severe asthma attack in the last 6 months (< 0·01), and lower depressive symptoms (< 0·05).

Conclusion.  Interventions designed to decrease depression and prevent asthma exacerbations may improve QOL for adolescents with asthma.