REFERENCE: Wahlgren, D.R., Meltzer, S.B., Jones, J.A., Hovell, M.F. Quality of life in low income latino children with asthma. Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Behavioral Medicine, San Diego, CA, March 3-6, 1999. (Abstract published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 1999; 21:S 193).
Very little is known about asthma severity and quality of life (QOL) among children of low income Latino families. Baseline data were examined from a randomized community trial testing behavioral counseling for reducing environmental tobacco smoke exposure among underserved Latino asthmatic children in San Diego County. To date, 75 children were age-eligible and completed the Pediatric Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (PAQLQ). Children were an average of 10.6 years old and 55% were male. Because this measure has not been validated in a Latino population, we first examined its psychometric properties. Scales exhibited adequate to excellent internal consistency: activities (alpha = .71), symptoms (.88), emotions (.89), overall (.94). Validity of scales was supported through correlations with asthma severity (all p-values < .01), overall symptoms (all p-values < .02), days symptoms interfered with activities (all p-values < .03), lung function (FVC: p-values for symptoms, emotion and overall < .03), and functional limitations (all p-values < .01). PAQLQ items range from 1-7, with high scores representing better QOL. Scale means (SD) suggest that QOL is only modestly impacted: activities = 4.25 (1.28), symptoms = 4.75 (1.34), emotions = 4.79 (1.51), overall = 4.66 (1.30), corresponding to limitations and symptoms that interfered and bothered the children "some of the time" to "once in a while," and for which they reported being bothered "somewhat" to "a bit." Mean asthma symptom sum score was remarkably similar to that observed in a previously published study of asthmatic children recruited from specialty clinics, despite differences between these populations in socioeconomic status and access to health care. However, the standard deviations in the Latino sample's PAQLQ and asthma symptom scores suggest a more heterogeneous population which includes possibly more severely impacted children.