Title

The relationship between helplessness and the child’s asthma symptoms: the role of social support

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-2015

Abstract

Objective: Objectives of this study were to survey parents and children independently regarding feelings of helplessness specific to asthma and to examine the relationship between helplessness and the child's symptom-free days. Methods: Parent–child dyads (children 7–12 years) from Rochester, NY were enrolled (November 2011–August 2012) from general pediatric clinics, pulmonary clinics, an Emergency Department, and area youth and asthma programs. Assessments included demographics, symptoms, ratings of helplessness related to asthma and parent social support. A multivariate linear regression was conducted to examine the relationship between feelings of helplessness and symptoms-free days: post hoc analysis assessed the moderating role of social support. Results: Overall, 107 parent–child dyads enrolled (participation rate: 72%); 104 were included in analysis. Most children were male (58%), 7–9 years (58%) and White (46%). The child's feelings of helplessness scores were positively correlated with symptom-free days indicating less feelings of helplessness as symptom-free days increased (rs = 0.273, p = 0.01). In a stratified analysis, among parents who reported minimal social support (<1 sources of support), child's helplessness scores were positively correlated with symptom-free days (rs = 0.335, p = 0.02). Conversely, among parents reporting >2 supports, no relationship was found (rs = 0.195, p = 0.15). Conclusions: This study found less feelings of helplessness among children with asthma as symptom-free days increased. Social support appears to moderate this relationship; however further studies to confirm these findings are needed.

DOI

10.3109/02770903.2014.952437