The lived experience of mothers of children with asthma

Garcia, Mary Kay
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The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the lived experience of mothers of children with asthma. A purposeful sample of 10 mothers was interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Data were analyzed for common themes and descriptive elements using the phenomenological method. A core category, uncertainty, and four process-oriented categories: vigilance, searching for answers, taking charge, and finding a balance emerged.

Uncertainty described the experience of being in a state of enhanced vulnerability without predictability or control over events or outcomes which led to the mothers' feelings of anxiety, frustration, worry, fear, and anger. Mothers dealt with uncertainty by cautious monitoring (vigilance) and a quest for answers, support, and resources (searching for answers). In time, the mothers became sufficiently assertive to effect change (taking charge). The processes of vigilance, searching for answers, and taking charge were directed toward promoting the normal experiences of childhood while taking the necessary precautions to maintain a sense of control (finding a balance).

Findings indicated mothers need to be included as integral members of the health care team. A timely diagnosis of asthma with understanding, appropriate education, and provision of resources would decrease uncertainty and improve mothers' ability to manage effectively. Further research is needed to identify and overcome the barriers to provision of asthma education and resources by nurses in all settings.

Asthma, Children, Mothers, Life experience, Families & family life