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Public Health




Children of Hispanic origin have the highest prevalence of asthma of all ethnic groups in the United States, especially Puerto Rican children, who have a prevalence of 12.9%. Treatment nonadherence has been identified as one contributing factor. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the reasons for nonadherence to the asthma treatment regimen among Puerto Rican children. Parents and health care providers of asthmatic children were interviewed regarding their beliefs about asthma as a disease, its effect on the child's life, and their experience with asthma treatment. Two models served as the theoretical framework: the health belief model and the Institute of Medicine model framework for asthma disparities. Interview data were collected from 8 parents using a questionnaire, and a focus group was conducted with 3 health care professionals. Data were manually coded to identify emerging themes. Even though parents reported fear of asthma medications and medication side effects, none of the parents stopped the asthma treatment. Results also indicated that lack of education about asthma, asthma treatment, and asthma action plan was evident in 75% of the parents. None of the parents who migrated to the United States from Puerto Rico received education about asthma while living in Puerto Rico. Health care professionals reported that although parents are familiar with asthma, they do not understand that it is a chronic disease that requires daily treatment. Findings may be used to create an asthma education plan tailored to the needs of the Hispanic population.