• childhood asthma;
  • screening;
  • asthma symptoms;
  • parents’ report;
  • child's report

Asthma is a common and severe chronic disease in children influencing their quality of life and functioning at school. A 5-item asthma-screening instrument was developed and tested in 1052 children aged 10–12 years. Questionnaires were completed by parents and children separately and data were compared. Children reported less to be diagnosed by a medical doctor as having asthma compared with their parents, although children reported more to have certain asthma symptoms. No difference in prevalence of asthma was found between children and parents’ answers. The absolute agreement for the scale was 92% and a good kappa agreement was found. Recoding the ‘don't know’-answers in ‘no’-answers resulted in a 4% misclassification. The short 5-item asthma screening tool can be valuable in the categorization of a subgroup of children likely to suffer from asthma in a survey. Recoding ‘don't know’-answers to ‘no’-answers is justified in large samples.