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This study is a meta-analytic review of the behavioral adjustment of children and adolescents with asthma. Of 78 studies initially reviewed, 26 studies (encompassing 28 data sets), reflecting data on nearly 5000 children with asthma (mean age = 8.4 years; 40% female), met criteria for inclusion. Effect size estimates were calculated across studies using standard methods. Separate effect sizes were calculated for internalizing and externalizing behavioral problems, degrees of asthma severity, and differences in control group used (i.e., sample controls or normative data). Results indicate that children with asthma have more behavioral difficulties than do healthy children, with the effect for internalizing behaviors being greater than that for externalizing behaviors (dmn = .73 vs .40). Increased asthma severity was associated with greater behavioral difficulties. Results did not differ by comparison group (healthy controls vs normative data). The findings suggest that patients with asthma, particularly children with severe asthma, should be considered at higher risk for behavioral difficulties that may necessitate psychosocial intervention.

(C) 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.