When control exacerbates distress: A qualitative study exploring the experiences of Hong Kong chinese parents in caring for a child with asthma

Yuen Yu Chong, Doris Leung, Yim Wah Mak

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Many parents have difficulty managing childhood asthma. In Hong Kong (HK), while medication is the primary form of treatment, traditional Chinese medicine is another favored option. In addition, HK follows a dual-track healthcare system, which may pose unique experiences for Chinese parents in managing childhood asthma. This qualitative descriptive study aimed to explore the experiences of HK Chinese parents in caring for their children with asthma. Methods: Fourteen HK Chinese mothers of children (aged 3–10) suffering from asthma were purposively sampled to participate in individual, semi-structured interviews. A realist approach following conventional content analysis was used to interpret the interviews. Results: The mothers expressed feelings of uncertainty, fear of asthma crises, and searched for ways to cope. As long as their child’s asthma symptoms recurred, the mothers’ distress continued. Their distress was sometimes exacerbated by self-doubt and worries over whether they would receive adequate support from their family and healthcare professionals. Conclusions: Helping parents to understand their limits may help them be more open to varied aspects of their caregiving experiences, and thus to cope better. Psychological interventions together with traditional educational training may help to alleviate the psychological difficulties of parents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1372
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Asthma
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Psychological adjustment
  • Psychological distress
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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