Perceptions of Stress, Coping, and Intervention Preferences among Caregivers of Disadvantaged Children with Asthma

Damian M. Waters, Alexandra M. Olson, Naja Fousheé, Deborah Q. Shelef, Lisa Stewart, Kabir Yadav, Ivor B. Horn, Randi Streisand, Cynthia Rand, Stephen J. Teach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Asthma remains the most prevalent chronic illness among children. Despite the substantial body of literature examining children with asthma, few studies have examined parents’ perspectives of the condition and experiences of caregiver stress. Parents of children with chronic illnesses experience elevated stress and may have limited opportunities to cope with complex emotions while caring for children with asthma. Drawing from focus groups and interviews with African American and Hispanic parents of children with asthma, this qualitative study was conducted as part of a patient-centered engagement process to inform the refinement of an intervention aimed at reducing stress among parents of children with asthma. All data were transcribed and underwent three waves of inductive analysis. The content analysis indicated that the unpredictable nature of asthma and the caregiving burden associated with managing children’s asthma contributed to parents’ stress, and external contexts compounded the impact of these stressors. Parents also reported having difficulty identifying how they coped with stress and employed approaches to coping with stress that they applied intermittently but encountered several barriers to enacting known or available coping strategies. Analyses also revealed that parents desired a multimodal stress reduction intervention that emphasized building relationships, allowed for flexibility, and encouraged staff-parent communication. Whereas African American and Hispanic parents’ experiences of stress and coping strategies were similar, their preferences differed in regards to incorporating technology into the intervention, the credentials of facilitators, and the salience of language preferences. Understanding the complexities of stressors facing caregivers is important for developing interventions to support parents and children coping with asthma, and in particular when working with families from diverse backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1622-1634
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Asthma
  • Caregiver stress
  • Patient-centered research
  • Pediatric chronic illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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