Stress and coping in pediatric asthma: The experiences of low-SES latinx families

Erin M. Rodríguez, Lauren E. Gulbas, Sharon D. Horner, Juliana Alba-Suarez, Julia George-Jones, Savannah Davidson, Emily Lehning, Catherine Esperanza, Cinthia Alvarado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Low-socioeconomic status (SES) Latinx youth experience disproportionate rates of poor asthma control, which can disrupt school, work, and quality of life. The current study examined low-SES Latinx families' experiences of asthma-related stress and coping to inform intervention approaches with this population. Method: We used a sequential mixed-method design, with qualitative findings used to enrich interpretation of quantitative results. Cross-sectional quantitative data was collected from low-SES Latinx youth with asthma ages 9-17 and their parents (N = 39), who reported on their levels of asthma-related stressors and their coping with asthma. Focus groups were conducted with additional low-SES Latinx youth with asthma and their parents (N = 11). Qualitative data were coded using a grounded theory approach. Results: Parents reported higher levels of asthma-related stressors than children. Higher levels of stress were correlated with less secondary control coping for children, and less primary and secondary control coping for parents. SES-relevant processes (e.g., health literacy) and Latinx-relevant processes (e.g., spirituality, transnational health care) shaped families' experiences of asthma-related stressors and coping. Conclusions: Findings highlight the challenges of controlling asthma and the consequences of poorly controlled asthma, as well as potential intervention strategies to support asthma management and psychosocial adjustment for low-SES Latinx families. This study examined the stress and coping experiences of low-SES Latinx families of children with asthma. Coping that involved trying to change stressors (for parents) or trying to adapt to stressors (for children and parents) was related to lower levels of asthma-related stress. It may be helpful for clinicians to leverage cultural factors such as spirituality to promote more effective coping and asthma management in low-SES Latinx families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-138
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Coping
  • Latinx
  • Mixed-method
  • Pediatric asthma
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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