objectives: To understand inner-city Chicago residents’
perception of the prevalence and severity of asthma as well as their
knowledge of asthma control and management.
Cross-sectional survey using a random digital telephone dialing
Settings: Five inner-city Chicago communities
where a high prevalence and mortality of asthma have been
Participants: All the residents in the
selected communities with a residential telephone had an equal
opportunity to be surveyed.
Measurements and results:
The unit of measurement was the household. Only one adult member (age
18 or older) in any randomly selected household was interviewed. The
survey included questions modified from the Chicago Asthma Surveillance
Initiative study. A total of 2,322 phone calls with 527 successful
contacts were made over 1,938 distinct phone lines, resulting in a
response rate of 175 of 527 calls (33.2%). Seventy-nine of the
participants (45.1%) reported that at least one of their family
members (including themselves) has asthma. Eight persons (4.6%)
reported asthma as one of the top three health concerns in their
community. Of the top three health reasons mentioned for children’s
being absent from school, only seven persons (4%) mentioned asthma.
Participants were unlikely to perceive that the problems with access to
asthma care and environmental triggers for asthma in their communities
were any worse compared with other communities. Participants having
family members with diagnosed asthma scored no better when asked
general-knowledge questions about asthma or its signs and triggers than
those without a family member having asthma.
Conclusions: The participants’ knowledge and beliefs
about the seriousness of asthma revealed in this study appeared
unlikely to enhance or support compliance with the challenging
requirements of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Panel
guidelines. The study was conducted with a small sample, and the
results should be carefullyinterpreted.