Asthma and adaptive functioning among homeless kindergarten-aged children in emergency housing

J. J. Cutuli, Janette E. Herbers, Theresa L. Lafavor, Sandra M. Ahumada, Ann S Masten, Charles N Oberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. Children who experience homelessness have elevated rates of asthma, a risk factor for other problems. Purpose. Examine rates of asthma and its relation to health care use and adaptive functioning among young children staying in family emergency shelters. Methods. Children and caregivers (N = 138) completed assessments in shelters, including measurement of child cognitive functioning, parent report of child health care service utilization and asthma diagnosis, and teacher report of child school functioning. Results. Asthma diagnosis was reported for 21% of 4-to-6-year-old children, about twice the national and state prevalences. Children with asthma used more health care services and had worse peer relationships. Asthma did not relate to cognitive test performance or subsequent academic performance, or to other behavior problems in school. Conclusions. High rates of asthma remain an important issue for children in emergency family housing, a context with high levels of child risk for toxic stress exposure and developmental problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-730
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • Asthma
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Early school years
  • Family homelessness
  • Peer relationships
  • Risk

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