Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 86, Issue 2, pp 214–229

Ancillary Benefits for Caregivers of Children with Asthma Participating in an Environmental Intervention Study to Alleviate Asthma Symptoms

  • Jane E. Clougherty
  • Laura D. Kubzansky
  • John D. Spengler
  • Jonathan I. Levy


Providing care for children with asthma can be demanding and time-intensive with far-reaching effects on caregivers’ lives. Studies have documented childhood asthma symptom reductions and improved asthma-related quality of life (AQOL) with indoor allergen-reducing environmental interventions. Few such studies, however, have considered ancillary benefits to caregivers or other family members. Ancillary benefits could be derived from child health improvements and reduced caregiving burden or from factors such as improved living environments or social support that often accompanies intensive residential intervention efforts. As part of the Boston Healthy Public Housing Initiative (HPHI), a longitudinal single-cohort intervention study of asthmatic children, we examined trends in caregivers’ quality of life related to their child’s asthma (caregiver AQOL) using monthly Juniper Caregiver Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaires (AQLQ) for 32 primary caregivers to 42 asthmatic children aged 4 to 17 years. Longitudinal analyses were used to examine caregiver AQOL trends and their relationship to the child’s AQOL, then to consider additional predictors of caregiver AQOL. Caregiver AQLQ improved significantly over the course of the study with overall improvements significantly correlated with child AQOL (p = 0.005). However, caregiver AQOL improved most in the months before environmental interventions, while children’s AQOL improved most in the months following. Time trends in caregiver AQOL, controlling for child AQOL, were not explained by available social support or caregiver stress measures. Our findings suggest potential participation effects not adequately captured by standard measures. Future environmental intervention studies should more formally consider social support and participation effects for both children and caregivers


Urban childhood asthma Quality of life Environmental interventions Psychological factors 


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane E. Clougherty
    • 1
  • Laura D. Kubzansky
    • 1
  • John D. Spengler
    • 1
  • Jonathan I. Levy
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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