Objective. To identify a characteristic pattern of health and illness for adolescents with asthma, we compared the health status of teenagers with asthma to those without asthma using a recently developed generic health status instrument, the Child Health and Illness Profile, Adolescent Edition (CHIP-AE).
Methods. This was a cross-sectional survey using a school sample of 3109 teenagers. Participants completed the CHIP-AE during school in northern Baltimore City, rural western Maryland, and rural Arkansas. The health and functioning scores of teens without asthma (“well” group) were compared with those with asthma with and without recent wheezing.
Results. Of the 12% who reported that a physician had ever told them they had asthma, 50% had problems with wheezing in the past 28 days. Compared with well teenagers, those with asthma and recent wheezing had lower perceived well-being, more physical and emotional symptoms, greater limitations in activity, more comorbidities, and more negative behaviors that threaten social development. These findings held true in multivariable regression models that controlled for sociodemographics and sites of data collection. Teenagers with asthma without recent wheezing reported a greater number of comorbidities than well teens and showed similar trends in health status as those with recently symptomatic asthma.
Conclusions. Multiple aspects of adolescent health status are affected by asthma, particularly if it is recently symptomatic. These results argue for incorporating a generic health status instrument, such as the CHIP-AE, in studies that document the health needs or outcomes of medical care for populations of teenagers with asthma. asthma, quality of life, adolescence.