Improving Asthma Outcomes for Adolescents

Posted: 2/11/2016


Factors at multiple ecological levels, including the child, family, home, medical care, and community, impact adolescent asthma outcomes.


This systematic review characterizes behavioral interventions at the child, family, home, medical system, and community level to improve asthma management among adolescents.


A systematic search of PubMed, SCOPUS, OVID, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and reference review databases was conducted from January 1, 2000, through August 10, 2014. Articles were included if the title or abstract included asthma AND intervention AND (education OR self-management OR behavioral OR technology OR trigger reduction), and the mean and/or median age of participants was between 11 and 16 years. We compared populations, intervention characteristics, study designs, outcomes, settings, and intervention levels across studies to evaluate behavioral interventions to improve asthma management for adolescents.


Of 1230 articles identified and reviewed, 24 articles (21 unique studies) met inclusion criteria. Promising approaches to improving adherence to daily controller medications include objective monitoring of inhaled corticosteroid adherence with allergist and/or immunologist feedback on medication-taking behavior and school nurse directly observed therapy. Efficacy at increasing asthma self-management skills was demonstrated using group interactive learning in the school setting. This systematic review is not a meta-analysis, thus limiting its quantitative assessment of studies. Publication bias may also limit our findings.


Novel strategies to objectively increase controller medication adherence for adolescents include allergist and/or immunologist feedback and school nurse directly observed therapy. Schools, the most common setting across studies in this review, provide the opportunity for group interactive learning to improve asthma knowledge and self-management skills.