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Research article2015Peer reviewedOpen access

Coping and social support in asthma and allergy: the Västerbotten Environmental Health Study

Lind, Nina; Nordin, Maria; Palmquist, Eva; Claeson, Anna-Sara; Millqvist, Eva; Nordin, Steven


Objectives: Asthma and allergy are stressful conditions that require coping strategies and social support to reduce stress and enhance health-promoting behavior. However, research is limited regarding coping and social support in asthma and allergy. The aim was to better understand the use of different coping strategies and perceived social support in low and high severity (exacerbation frequency) of asthma and allergy. Methods: Population-based data were used to provide ratings of coping strategies (Study I) and social support (Study II) from 124 and 94 participants, respectively, with asthma and/or allergy, categorized as low or high in severity. Problem-and emotion-focused coping strategies were assessed as well as emotional, instrumental and informative social support from seven sources. Results: Study I showed that avoiding certain environments (problem-based coping) and trying to accept one's situation (emotion-based) were the most commonly used coping strategies. These behaviors did not differ due to severity. Study II showed that more emotional than instrumental and informative support was perceived. The highest rated support sources were the partner, family members and the healthcare system. More social support was reported in low asthma/allergy severity compared to high asthma/allergy severity. Conclusion: The most commonly used coping strategies in the population of persons with these four types of asthma and allergy are avoiding certain environments and trying to accept one's situation. More emotional support than instrumental and informative is perceived to be received, and most of the support is received from one's partner and other family members and least from authorities and patient associations/support groups.


Allergic rhinitis; atopic dermatitis; atopy; epidemiology; quality of life

Published in

Journal of Asthma
2015, Volume: 52, number: 6, pages: 622-629

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Health and Occupational Health
    Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
    Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)

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