Asthma is the leading cause of childhood illness that disproportionately affects minority children. The objective of this study is to characterize the extent of asthma morbidity among children in the inner city, identify factors associated with the degree of severity of asthma, and to discuss intervention methods that will significantly reduce the morbidity of asthma. The study is divided into two compounds, with Phase I using cross sectional and controlled case study designs, and with phase II using a longitudinal design. In the cross sectional component of Phase I, children with asthma will be identified and the severity of their disorder will be assessed, attitudes, heliefs, and knowledge about asthma, symptom management skills, family emotional functioning, and the availability and use of health care resources will also be assessed. The case control component of Phase I will examine the factors that contribute to morbidity in greater depth and will examine atopic status vio skin testing, pulmonary functioning and urinary cotinine levels, and the psychosocial functioning of participants. The role of ethnicity and disease severity will be examined by comparung a group of Black and Hispanic children with severe asthma to three control groups who differ in race ethnicity and/or severity of asthma. A small longitudinal study will be piloted to refine subject recruitment strategies and to examine the feasibility of conducting a larger longitudinal study which examines health status, psychosocial functioning and the effectiveness of intervention programs. Phase II is the intervention component of the study and will be based on these findings from Phase I. Phase II has seven components: asthma education, including the use of home peak flow monitoring; a Home Outreach program using a Community Health Care Worker; smoking cessation program; pest eradication; continuing medical education for primary care providers; Asthma Hot Line; and availability of free medications.
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