The Effect of Caregivers' Health Literacy and Disease Knowledge on Pediatric Patients with Asthma
Adult asthmatics with poor health literacy and low disease-specific knowledge have worse asthma outcomes than those with higher health literacy and higher disease knowledge. Few researchers have examined adult health literacy in the context of disease outcomes for pediatric asthma patients. The purpose of this study was to understand the effect that adult caregivers have on pediatric asthma control in order to identify at-risk families. The causal pathways between limited health literacy and health outcomes model were adapted to formulate the theoretical framework. The study design consisted of a cross-sectional, secondary analysis of patient caregiver data from the Greater Cincinnati Pediatric Clinic Repository (n = 187). Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the effect of caregiver health literacy and asthma-specific knowledge on childhood asthma control and to identify which factor was more predictive of poor asthma control. Sociodemographic characteristics and self-reported medication adherence were evaluated as potential confounders. According to study results, low asthma knowledge was a better predictor of poor asthma control; results also revealed that race, education, and income played a role in each relationship. These findings will inform the efforts of those who work with families with asthma by providing them with evidence-based tailored education plans. These findings will encourage social change by stimulating new ways to help caregivers understand and subsequently manage their child’s disease.