STRONGer Together: A Small Group Intervention for Children With Asthma and Anxiety/Depression

2019-09-17 02:47:14 | BioPortfolio


The proposed study is a randomized controlled pilot to assess the feasibility and acceptability of an 8-session intervention (STRONGer Together) for children between 8 - 12 years of age with asthma and anxiety/depressive symptoms.


Asthma is one of the leading chronic conditions in children and affects 6.1 million children in the United States. 5,15,16 It is one of the most common causes of school absenteeism and is a major public health issue, accounting for over $56 billion dollars annually in healthcare costs. 16 Children with asthma have increased odds ~ 3.13 of having co-morbid anxiety/depression, a lower quality of life, and higher morbidity and mortality rates. 4,17-21 In recent years, the economic burden of asthma 22 and the level of impairment due to mental health concerns have increased for children and adolescents. 23 A study by Secinti, Thompson, Richards, and Gaysina (2017) highlights the association between childhood chronic physical conditions and adult emotional health, further emphasizing the critical need to address physical health as well as the emotional and mental health of children with asthma. 24 More distally, asthma, anxiety, and depression cause inflammation. 25 Left unaddressed, adults with asthma and comorbid anxiety/depression may be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. 25,26 Compounding potential health related complications of asthma and comorbid anxiety/depressive symptoms is the disproportionate effect of asthma for children from ethnic and racial minority populations 4,19 or from socioeconomically disadvantaged settings. 19 Further, underserved populations are less likely to receive appropriate medical or mental health care for a variety of reasons such as transportation, neighborhood factors, a caregiver's inability to pay for needed medications or treatment, and healthcare provider bias. 20 Cost-related barriers were found to be most indicative of uncontrolled asthma in a recent study. 27 Clinicians, policy makers, and researchers must be responsive and provide interventions to ameliorate detrimental outcomes. Prior studies indicate that not only are children with asthma and anxiety/depression less likely to adhere to treatment guidelines, they are prone to misinterpretation of their symptoms leading to overuse of their quick-relief inhaler. 20 Symptoms of anxiety and asthma are often confused and psychological factors can be a trigger for an asthma attack. 25 Improvement in symptom interpretation, asthma self-efficacy, and asthma illness beliefs has been associated with better asthma control. 28 Children using skills to take care of their asthma, or asthma self-management, is a dynamic process. Self-efficacy contributes to one's to self-management behaviors. 29 While many factors contribute to managing one's asthma, the skills can be easily learned. However, children with asthma are frequently expected to manage their medications at a very young age and may not have the knowledge or skills yet to understand what actions to take and when. For example, a study by Orrell-Valente, Jarlsberg, Hill, and Cabana (2008) found that 20% of children aged 7 years were responsible for managing their asthma medications, and by age 11 years, 50% of children are left to manage their asthma medications without caregiver assistance. 30 Bellin and colleagues (2017) interviewed children as young as six years of age that self-administered their medication. 31 Because of this, educating children about asthma is imperative so they can more accurately interpret their symptoms and treat themselves for optimal health, particularly since it is a lifelong condition. The proposed pilot RCT will determine the feasibility and acceptability of an 8-session educational and skills-building intervention in YMCA after-school programs in Orange, Chatham, and Durham counties in North Carolina.

Study Design


Childhood Asthma


STRONGer Together


YMCA of the Triangle
North Carolina
United States


Not yet recruiting


University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-09-17T02:47:14-0400

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