Adolescents managing asthma: what works?

Published Online: November 8, 2015

While adolescence poses challenges of complacency, invincibility, and defiance of authority, it also offers opportunity because lifelong patterns of health behaviors are established during this important developmental stage.

In a recently published article in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice (JACI: In Practice), Mosnaim et al identify successful approaches to asthma management for adolescents. Research studies and national asthma guidelines recommend interventions at multiple ecological levels to impact asthma outcomes in adolescents. These levels encompass the adolescent (e.g. asthma knowledge, self-management behaviors); family (e.g. family support); home (e.g. environmental exposure to allergens and irritants); medical care (e.g. health care provider following asthma guidelines); and community (e.g. school programs promoting asthma education and self-management). Mosnaim and colleagues executed a systematic review of the literature to identify behavioral intervention studies in adolescents ages 11 to 16 years with asthma across these ecological levels.

This article supports new approaches for the delivery of national asthma guideline recommendations for asthma self-management and use of asthma controller medications among adolescents. Several studies included in this review demonstrated that interactive group asthma education programs taught in the schools improved asthma knowledge and self-management skills in adolescents. Directly observed therapy by school nurses increased adolescent use of daily asthma controller medications. Allergist/Immunologist electronic monitoring of and feedback on adolescent use of daily preventive medications is a promising new approach to increasing medication-taking behavior.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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