Caregiver depression and perceptions of primary care predict clinic attendance in head start children with asthma

Josie S. Welkom, Marisa E. Hilliard, Cynthia S. Rand, Michelle N. Eakin, Kristin A. Riekert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the mediating role of perceptions of primary care (PC) on the association between depression and PC clinic attendance among caregivers of children with asthma. In adults, depression is associated with lower PC clinic attendance and ∼25% of mothers presenting to a pediatric PC clinic will screen positive for depression. Adults' perceptions about their medical care mediate the depression-clinic attendance relation, but this has not been tested in children or in an asthma population. Methods: This is a secondary prospective data analysis of 141 caregivers of Head Start children diagnosed with asthma, offered an intervention to reduce barriers to PC. Caregivers rated their depressive symptoms and perceptions of PC (access, provider contextual knowledge, and continuity of care) at baseline. PC clinic attendance was tracked prospectively for 6-months. Results: At baseline, 26% of caregivers screened positive for depression. Within 6-months, 66% of children attended a PC appointment. A positive depression screen was not associated with PC attendance (p=0.07) or continuity of care (p=0.98) but was inversely associated with perceptions of both access (p=0.03) and provider contextual knowledge (p=0.02). Though the total indirect effect was not significant, the specific indirect effect of depression on PC attendance through access was significant (95% CI: 0.01, 0.68). Conclusions: Providing tangible resources to reduce barriers to PC without addressing perceptions of access may not sufficiently improve PC clinic attendance in pediatric asthma. Screening caregivers for depression may identify families requiring targeted interventions to improve their perceptions of access.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-182
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Pediatrics
  • Prevention
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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