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Among children, asthma is the most common chronic illness. Although not curable, asthma is manageable with the use of both daily controller medication and quick relief or rescue medication. Anxiety has been found to increase asthma symptoms in children. Caregivers who are anxious about their child’s asthma symptoms may perceive their child’s asthma as more severe or doubt their ability to manage their child’s asthma, which can result in the misuse of asthma medication. This study focused on the association between asthma-related anxiety and the use of quick-relief asthma medications in a low-income, urban sample in Richmond, Virginia. Child participants range in age from 7 to 12 years old (M=9.5 years, standard deviation (SD) =1.5). Data were collected from 53 families and 89% of the child participants from these families were African American/Black (8% Caucasian/White, 3% mixed/multiracial). Caregivers and children completed questionnaires at an initial baseline visit. Caregivers then completed surveys on a cell phone and measured their child’s lung function with an AM2 device for two weeks. We had three main hypotheses: 1) If a parent had high levels of asthma-related anxiety, then their child would have higher levels of asthma-related anxiety 2) If the parent had high levels of asthma-related anxiety, then the parent would provide the child with higher levels of quick relief asthma medications, and 3) If the child had high levels of asthma-related anxiety, then the child would receive a higher number of quick relief puffs. Hypotheses were analyzed while controlling for asthma control. Findings suggested that there was no significant association between parent and child asthma-related anxiety. A significant association was found between parent asthma-related anxiety and number of quick relief puffs such that higher levels of anxiety was associated with more rescue medication. However, this association was not significant when controlling for asthma control. The association between child asthma-related anxiety and number of quick relief puffs was also not significant. These findings are important to consider when looking at a child with asthma because poor asthma management could be associated with parent asthma-related anxiety. Other studies have suggested that if physicians are made aware of parent and child asthma-related anxiety levels, they could work with the families to determine the most appropriate way to approach asthma management techniques to best fit their specific circumstances. Further, our results suggest the importance of focusing on child anxiety in addition to parent anxiety as children and parents may be reporting different levels of anxiety related to asthma.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Pediatric Asthma


Psychology, pediatrics, asthma, anxiety, quick-relief medication


Child Psychology | Health Psychology | Other Psychiatry and Psychology

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Robin Everhart


© The Author(s)

Asthma-Related Anxiety and Quick-Relief Medication Use in Urban Children with Asthma