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A Study of Asthma, School Attendance, Academic Performance, and Quality of Life in Predominantly Minority Children in 3rd to 5th Grades Open Access

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Asthma is an inflammatory disorder (Koterba & Saltoun, 2012) and a common chronic condition of childhood (McCowan, Bryce, Neville, Crombie, & Clark, 1996) that can cause children to experience poorer academic outcomes (Stingone & Claudio, 2006), a lower quality of life (Everhart & Fiese, 2009), hospitalizations, and in some cases death (Center for Disease Control, [CDC], 2017). This mixed methods study explored the relationship of asthma, school attendance, grades in mathematics and reading, and the quality of life in predominantly minority children with asthma and in those without asthma. Data for this study was collected at the Children’s National Health Systems (CNHS) in the District of Columbia. A total of 36 children without asthma and 30 children with asthma enrolled in the study at the hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) and the Improving Pediatric Asthma Care in the District of Columbia (IMPACT DC) clinic. The children were in grades three to five, 8 to 11 years old, and attended schools in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) during the 2015-2016 school year. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, ANCOVA, ANOVA, Spearman ranked order correlations, and hierarchical multiple linear regression were used to analyze the data.The quantitative analysis indicated children with asthma visited the ED significantly more frequently than those without asthma (p < .001, d= 0.8). The quality of life scores were lower for children with asthma compared to those without asthma. Further, as asthma severity increased, the quality of life scores decreased. In addition, children without asthma reported more unexcused days and absence from school than those with asthma. Lastly, children without asthma achieved a lower GPA in mathematics and reading than those with asthma. The findings indicate asthma impacts the quality of life scores in children, and that further research is warranted to determine how asthma impacts academic performance in children.

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