Perceived Factors Affecting Asthma Among Adolescents: Experiences and Findings From the Student Asthma Research Team Pilot Study

Ruchi S. Gupta, Claudia H. Lau, Elizabeth E. Springston, Christopher M. Warren, Cynthia J. Mears, Christine M. Dunford, Lisa K. Sharp, Jane L. Holl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe the development, implementation, and findings of a participatory media-based asthma afterschool program. Methods: A pilot study was conducted during the 2010/2011 school year in an inner-city Chicago high school with high asthma rates and poor asthma morbidity. Students met after school twice a week over 10 weeks. Students were given basic training in research and media production using photovoice participatory research technique and were instructed to identify personally relevant factors affecting asthma through photography and journaling. Students' journal entries and photographs were qualitatively coded. Relative frequencies of codes were calculated to determine common themes among identified factors. Students worked with a videographer to compile their findings into informational videos, which were used to educate peers and community members about asthma. Results: Fifteen students aged 13 to 18 attended a mean of 11 sessions (out of 20). One hundred eighty photographs (mean = 12 per student) and 112 journal entries (mean = 7.5 per student) were reviewed, with 4 predominant positive and negative factors identified. Reported factors influencing students' health and asthma included social support (22% of student photos and journal entries), neighborhood environment (17%), and lifestyle (28%), in addition to well-established asthma factors (43%). Conclusions: Results from the Student Asthma Research Team pilot demonstrate that adolescent students, given appropriate instruction and opportunity, are able to identify factors affecting their asthma. Interventions engaging adolescents via self-directed identification and participatory media production techniques hold promise as vehicles for enabling students to own and share health-related experiences through research and peer/community outreach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-234
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Asthma & Allergy Educators
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • adolescents
  • asthma management
  • asthma triggers
  • community-based participatory research
  • neighborhood
  • participatory action research
  • photovoice
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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