Childhood asthma is a chronic illness affecting quality of life and leading to higher mortality in the UK than other countries. In the UK, prescription rates for relievers and preventers are lower for South Asian (SA) children. SA children are more likely to suffer uncontrolled symptoms and to be admitted to hospital with acute exacerbations compared to White British (WB) children. The MIA study aimed to co-produce a tailored intervention framework for childhood asthma management by exploring the knowledge and attitudes towards asthma amongst WB and SA parents, carers and children.
Methods Semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 44 children aged 5–12yrs (33 SA, 14 WB) and 65 parents/carers (49 SA, 16 WB) were used to explore barriers and facilitators to asthma management. A comparative thematic analysis was conducted.
Results WB families were more likely to have pre-existing knowledge of asthma than SA families; previous knowledge of asthma strongly influenced how families managed childhood asthma in both communities. In a minority of SA families, ‘fear of the unknown’ prevented families from investigating asthma further. Beliefs regarding the causes and nature of asthma were similar in both groups, however whilst 33% of SA families attributed asthma to either God’s will or Karma, no WB families did so.
All communities reported that advice was often given by extended family members but this was more prominent in SA families, especially in relation to complementary asthma management strategies.
SA and WB families both reported a lack of information-giving by health care professionals in relation to asthma.
Conclusions Pre-existing knowledge and attitudes surrounding asthma differ between SA and WB parents and directly impact on management. Intervention Co-production is increasing in use and popularity. The MIA project supports the co-production model by highlighting the importance of identifying attitudes and beliefs towards asthma from different ethnic groups so that interventions can be tailored to address their fears and concerns more effectively.
Disclaimer This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research HS&DR programme (ref 09/2001/19). The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the HS&DR programme, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health.