PURPOSE: African-Americans have a higher rate of morbidity and mortality than Caucasians. We conducted focus groups in African-Americans and found they do not describe their symptoms during spontaneous asthma exacerbations in accordance with those found in the NAEPP guidelines.
METHODS: Grounded theory (an inductive qualitative technique in which responses from the participants are grouped into core themes) was used to analyze the responses from the African-American focus groups. Six core categories were identified: knowledge/literacy, triggers, asthma management and control, psychological effects, symptom tolerance and physical symptoms. These themes were used to derive a culturally sensitive scale to measure the perception of dyspnea in African-Americans with asthma. The scale can be administered in less than 15 minutes.
RESULTS: The scale has 30 questions and was field tested on 63 African-Americans and 40 Caucasians of both genders. Reliability was confirmed with a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.73 or 73 % reliability. The scale was reliable for both races and genders, and has content and face validity.
CONCLUSION: This study provides a means to measure the perceptions and descriptors of asthma symptoms in African-Americans and Caucasians in a culturally sensitive fashion. This questionnaire is unique in that it has both racial and gender reliability.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: This scale can be used to guide future research into racial disparities in asthma, tailor asthma education management programs and educate physicians regarding how asthmatics perceive and describe their asthma.
DISCLOSURE: David Trochtenberg, Product/procedure/technique that is considered research and is NOT yet approved for any purpose. A new perception of dyspnea questionnaire.