Asthma Disparities in Latino Children: Acculturation, Illness Representations & CAM

Principal Investigator: Kim Arcoleo

SIRC Collaborators: Flavio F. Marsiglia

Funding: National Institutes of Health/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, award R01AT005216 (2009-2013)

Ethnic disparities in childhood asthma outcomes between Mexican and Puerto Rican children asthma outcomes are so striking that researchers and public health officials have issued a call for action to understand why. The factors leading to these asthma health disparities are complex, yet little research has been conducted integrating, in one explanatory model, the multitude of factors that can lead to these disparities. The study moves the research from descriptive studies to a multi-level examination of the interaction of social, cultural, experiential, environmental, and healthcare system factors on disparities in asthma control among Mexican and Puerto Rican children. The aims of  this study are 1) to explore differences in illness representations between these Latino subgroups due to social and contextual factors, and 2) to test a growth model examining disparities in asthma control as a function of differences in parents' treatment decisions (CAM and controller medication use) and changes in illness representations over one year. This will be a one-year longitudinal, multi-site study of parental illness representations and CAM and controller medication use among a sample of 300 Latino (primarily Mexican and Puerto Rican) parents and children aged 5-12 who have asthma. Interviews and child assessments will be conducted with parents and children at enrollment, and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after enrollment.