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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 16 (2009), Issue 6, Pages e69-e75
Original Article

Perception of Asthma as a Factor in Career Choice among Young Adults with Asthma

Sacha Bhinder,1 Lisa Cicutto,1 Husam M Abdel-Qadir,1 and Susan M Tarlo1

1Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
3National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado, USA

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND/AIM: Asthma is a common chronic condition that can be aggravated by workplace exposures. Young adults with asthma should know how their future occupation might affect their asthma, and potentially, their quality of life. The aim of the present study was to assess the awareness of young adults to occupational risks for asthma and high-risk occupations, as well as their perception of the role of asthma in career choice.

METHODS: Young adults 16 to 22 years of age with reported physician-diagnosed asthma were recruited to complete a questionnaire eliciting information regarding asthma control, career choice and awareness of occupational exposure risks.

RESULTS: A small majority of the study cohort (56.4%) could identify occupations that cause or exacerbate asthma, and 34.7% indicated that asthma was an important factor in their career plans. Family physicians were most responsible for asthma management (80.2%), but young adults were more likely to discuss asthma and career plans with their parents (43.6%) or friends (29.7%) than with their family physician (13.9%; P<0.001).

CONCLUSION: Young adults with asthma have suboptimal awareness of potential work-related asthma risks. Family physicians most commonly provide asthma care to these young adults. However, few young adults are talking to their family physicians about career choices and asthma. This observation represents an area of asthma care that needs to be explored in young adults with asthma.