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Keywords:

  • asthma;
  • child;
  • parent;
  • Paediatric Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire;
  • quality of life;
  • Sweden

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.