The impact of childhood asthma on academic performance: a matched population‐based cohort study

Rebecca J. Mitchell*, Anne McMaugh, Nusrat Homaira, Reidar P. Lystad, Tim Badgery‐Parker, Cate M. Cameron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: There is inconclusive evidence of the effect of asthma on the academic performance of young people. This study aims to compare scholastic performance and high school completion of young people hospitalized with asthma compared to matched peers not hospitalized with asthma.

Method: A population-based matched case-comparison cohort study of young people aged ≤18 years hospitalized for asthma during 2005–2018 in New South Wales, Australia using linked birth, health, education and mortality records. The comparison cohort was matched on age, gender and residential postcode. Generalized linear mixed-modelling examined risk of school performance below the national minimum standard (NMS) and generalized linear regression examined risk of not completing high school for young people hospitalized with asthma compared to matched peers.

Results: Young males hospitalized with asthma had a 13% and 15% higher risk of not achieving the NMS for numeracy (95%CI 1.04–1.22) and reading (95%CI 1.07–1.23), respectively, compared to peers. Young males hospitalized with asthma had a 51% (95%CI 1.22–1.86) higher risk of not completing year 10, and around a 20% higher risk of not completing year 11 (ARR: 1.25; 95%CI 1.15–1.36) or year 12 (ARR: 1.27; 95%CI 1.17–1.39) compared to peers. Young females hospitalized with asthma showed no difference in achieving numeracy or reading NMSs, but did have a 21% higher risk of not completing year 11 (95%CI 1.09–1.36) and a 33% higher risk of not completing year 12 (95%CI 1.19–1.49) compared to peers.

Conclusions: Educational attainment is worse for young people hospitalized with asthma compared to matched peers. Early intervention and strategies for better management of asthma symptoms may enhance academic performance for students.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalClinical & Experimental Allergy
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • academic performance
  • asthma
  • high school completion
  • young people

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