Comparison of parent and student responses to asthma surveys: Students grades 1-4 and their parents from an urban public school setting

Academic Article


  • This study compared parent and child responses to a symptom questionnaire as a means of determining whether child and parent responses are equally valuable in case-detection procedures. We completed a study validating a multistage case-detection procedure. The case-detection procedure classified students into 3 categories based on their parents' questionnaire responses (probable asthma, possible asthma, and negative for asthma). Those who were classified as possible asthma by questionnaire underwent further testing, including spirometry and exercise challenge. The children with abnormal testing results were considered to have probable asthma. McNemar's test and kappa coefficients were used to examine parent-child agreement. Sensitivity and specificity of the case-detection procedure were compared using either the parent's or the child's responses to the questionnaire. The data indicated moderate agreement between parent and child responses to questions regarding previous diagnosis of asthma and past asthma therapy (p <.001, kappa coefficients of 0.6030 and 0.5966, respectively). Sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values in the multistage case-detection procedure were similar when using either parent or child responses to the questionnaire. Among the false negatives, the distribution of asthma severity was consistent whether using child or parent responses. Parent-child agreement did not differ significantly by gender or age of the child or whether the child had a previous diagnosis of asthma. These results suggest that the use of child responses is a viable option for case detection, particularly in identifying those with a previous diagnosis of asthma. © 2006, American School Health Association.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wittich AR; Gerald LB; Li Y
  • Start Page

  • 236
  • End Page

  • 240
  • Volume

  • 76
  • Issue

  • 6