Usefulness of a home affluence scale administered to urban adolescents with asthma to estimate the family's socioeconomic status

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Annals of epidemiology


Purpose: Measurement of socioeconomic status (SES) is traditionally based on education, income, and occupation. This information may not be readily available from adolescents participating in research.

Methods: Using data from school-based randomized trial of an asthma intervention targeting urban adolescents, we compared percent poverty in zip code of residence (% poverty), median housing value, and parental income and education, to teen responses on the Home Affluence Scale for Children (HASC), which included home, car, and computer ownership for the family and eligibility for free school lunch. The association of HASC with measures of asthma control was also assessed.

Results: Of 422 adolescents, 390 (92%) responded to HASC items (mean HASC = 2.5). HASC was associated with mother's education and household income (both P < .001), and significantly correlated with % poverty ( P < .0001) and median home value ( P = .003). The association of HASC <2.0 to indicators of uncontrolled asthma was in the direction hypothesized, especially for nighttime symptoms, odds ratio (95% confidence interval) = 1.59 (0.95–2.66) and restricted activity, odds ratio = 1.87 (1.12–3.12).

Conclusions: HASC correlates well with more traditional measures of SES, and the risk estimates for HASC less than 2.0 and indicators of uncontrolled asthma were mostly in the hypothesized direction. Methods of obtaining SES indicators from youth are needed for research studies.

Medical Subject Headings

Adolescent; Child; Female; Housing; Humans; Income; Male; Occupations; Odds Ratio; Parents; Poverty; Residence Characteristics; Schools; Social Class; Socioeconomic Factors; Urban Population

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