Asthma and Academic Achievement: How Are Head Start Children Affected?

Ethan J. Schilling, Stacey Neuharth-Pritchett, A. Michelle Lease, Yvette Q. Getch


Head Start children with asthma represent a unique student population with unique needs. This study examined the ways in which a diagnosis of asthma can affect the later academic achievement of these students in a sample of 788 children identified as having asthma. Results indicated statistically significant group differences in standardized reading and mathematics scores, with students with asthma performing worse than students without this diagnosis in both academic areas. In reference to reading abilities among students with asthma, indicators of socioeconomic status, gender, and level of school absences were found to be predictive of reading scores. Regarding mathematics abilities, results indicated the significant contribution of both socioeconomic status and level of school absences in predicting the math scores of students with asthma.  Variables regarding the family environment (access to resources and family routines also contributed to explaining the asthma-academic achievement relationship in a full model including all these variables. Recommendations for Head Start practitioners for adequately serving the needs of students with asthma are also discussed.


asthma, academic achievement, Head Start

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This journal is a publication of the NHSA and the CEME at UNC Charlotte.