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The Effects of Asthma Experience and Social Demographic Characteristics on Responses to the Chicago Community Asthma Survey-32*

Kevin B. Weiss, MD; Evalyn N. Grant, MD; Tao Li, PhD; for the Chicago Asthma Surveillance Initiative Project Team
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Affiliations: *From the Center for Health Services Research, Rush Primary Care Institute (Drs. Weiss and Li), and the Department of Immunology/Microbiology (Dr. Grant), Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, IL. ,  See Appendix for other members of the CASI Project Team.

Correspondence to: Kevin B. Weiss, MD, Center for Health Services Research, Rush Primary Care Institute, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, 1653 W Congress Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60612


Affiliations: *From the Center for Health Services Research, Rush Primary Care Institute (Drs. Weiss and Li), and the Department of Immunology/Microbiology (Dr. Grant), Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, IL. ,  See Appendix for other members of the CASI Project Team.


Chest. 1999;116(suppl_2):183S-189S. doi:10.1378/chest.116.suppl_2.183S
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Introduction: Th e Chicago Community Asthma Survey (CCAS-32) is an instrument for characterizing the general public’s knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs related to asthma. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of asthma experience and social demographic characteristics on asthma awareness among the general public.

Methods: The CCAS-32 consists of 21 dichotomous items, designed primarily to test asthma knowledge, and 11 Likert-scale items, focusing on asthma attitudes and beliefs. From December 1997 through February 1998, a random-digit dialing method was used to administer the CCAS-32 via a telephone survey of Chicago-area (seven-county) residents ≥ 18 years. Each respondent’s asthma experience was classified as “person with asthma,” “family/household experience,” or “no/low asthma experience.” Demographic variables included sex, age, education, race/ethnicity, urban vs suburban residence, and income.

Results: Five hundred sixty-eight Chicago-area residents completed the survey (response rate of 40.6%). Of these, 43.3% were aged 35 to 64 years, 71.3% were women, 66.7% were white, and 71.3% had completed at least some college. Sixty-two percent had no or low asthma experience, 28.5% had family or household experience, and 9.5% were persons with asthma. The mean percentage (± SE) of correct, or desirable, responses to asthma knowledge questions was 71.9 ± 0.5%, with a range from 31.9 to 95.1%. The mean percentage of desirable responses differed significantly between persons with no or low asthma experience, family or household asthma experience, and persons with asthma (70.0 ± 0.6%, 74.0 ± 0.9%, and 77.7 ± 1.2%, respectively, p < 0.01 for trend). Social demographic factors also appeared to result in statistically significant differences in the responses to many items. Of the demographic variables studied, age and education appeared to have the strongest effect on responses to knowledge items, with statistically significant differences in responses seen for 10 (47.6%) and 8 (38.1%) of the 21 dichotomous items. Race or ethnicity and education were each associated with differences in responses for 7 of the 11 Likert-scale items (63%).

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that the CCAS-32 can detect meaningful differences between groups with different degrees of asthma experience (ie, discriminative validity). Using the CCAS-32, it may be possible to identify subpopulations with differences in asthma awareness, thus providing guidance for the design of messages to target community and public awareness of asthma.

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