The effects of caregiver's mindfulness on the perception of children's asthma symptoms
Matte, Lynne E.
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Background: Mindfulness has been shown to improve self-observation skills, which may lead to better recognition of sensations, cognitions, and emotional states. The present study hypothesized that higher scores of mindfulness by caregivers of children with asthma would have a significant effect on their children's symptom perception. Additionally, this study hoped to explore caregiver's mindfulness as a factor influencing their health behaviors regarding the management of their child's asthma.;Methods: The sample consisted of a total of 95 caregivers and their children who were between the ages of 7 and 15 and were diagnosed with asthma. Participants were recruited from hospital-based outpatient clinics, an outpatient primary care clinic, and the emergency department. Caregivers completed measures of mindfulness, their children's asthma medication regimen, asthma outcomes, and an asthma illness representation scale. Families were trained on how to monitor their children's asthma symptom perception by use of an electronic peak flow meter (AM2) which they were given to use twice daily for 5 weeks. Data from this machine was used to measure the child's asthma symptom perception. The symptom perception methodology involved comparisons between recorded lung function and lung function as estimated by the child. The Asthma Risk Grid was used to determine three categories: accurate perception, over perception or under perception.;Results: Three hierarchical regression models showed that mindfulness was not a significant predictor of over perception [beta = -.022, p=.843]; under perception [beta = -.029, p = .789] or accurate perception [beta = .011, p = .916], independent of asthma medication regimen and caregivers' education level. However, there was a significant association found between mindfulness and pediatric asthma morbidity (beta = -.233, p= .025), when asthma medication regimen and caregivers' education level were controlled. The results of a logistic regression found mindfulness to be a significant predictor of quick-relief medication use after controlling for the child's medication regimen (OR = .609, 95% CI 377 - .982, p = .042). There was no significant correlation observed for caregivers' asthma illness beliefs and mindfulness. However, parental illness beliefs regarding the nature of asthma was associated with caregivers' education level (beta = .296, p = .003).;Discussion: These results indicate that there was a significant correlation between caregivers' mindfulness and pediatric asthma morbidity. Concurrently, higher mindfulness reported by caregivers was associated with parental illness beliefs regarding the nature of asthma. The mechanism in which mindfulness impacts functional morbidity and better asthma control was not found, in this study, to be developed through symptom perception.