Table 2

How much my asthma affects me (theme 1)

RCT group*Quotation
2.1 Perceiving unproblematic asthma which requires only minimal active care:
Maintenance‘I don't manage my asthma very actively. 'Cause like I don't need to, ‘cause it’s mild… it’s only really during high intensity exercise that I get (asthma) symptoms.’. (ID98)
As-needed combination‘It’s been a long time since I’ve had really bad asthma. Yeah, a long, long time. [In recent years] I have [only] woken up in the night the odd time and taken Ventolin’. (ID27)
2.2 Perceiving asthma as not life-threatening:
Maintenance‘[I've had experiences when] it’s now 7 o’clock at night and I can't see a GP [to get] me a damned inhaler, which is particularly frustrating…[but] I know I'll be fine through the night. I'll get through it. …it’s not something which I would find life-threatening.’ (ID120)
As-needed combination‘It’s a mild annoyance at the moment. I know [if] I want to go climbing a hill…I'm going to get some symptoms but that’s really about it. I'm not disabled by it, and there’s nothing life-threatening about it’ (ID97)
2.3 Complacency around mild asthma:
Maintenance‘Everyone is complacent. I mean me, my GP, the pharmacist and even my husband, although he'll kill me for saying that ((laughs))… Medical professionals don't treat mild asthma seriously. They think ‘You'll be right. Just take Ventolin”. There’s no follow up when you visit the GP [for reasons other than asthma]. They don't ask about your asthma…it’s my health, my life. But [it’s] the GP’s job to oversee how your asthma’s going.’ (ID96)
2.4 Habituating to asthma symptoms:
Maintenance‘My husband reminds me like ‘[Why don't you] use the inhaler?' Probably I start making this ((makes sound)) like clearing my throat. I mean he can notice [my asthma symptoms] probably before me… I think I got used to them.’ (ID65)
As-needed combination‘I might be wheezy for a reason, and um, but I don't maybe notice it, and someone else will notice it… You just get used to it and you just cope, you, like, learn to cope with it and so you don't deal with it.’. (ID40)
2.5 Difficulty differentiating asthma symptoms from other potential causes:
Maintenance‘Yeah it’s hard for me to decipher. I would also feel chest tightness anyways in amongst [anxiety] so I would definitely be confused whether it was asthma or if it was just something else, um, [like] me just hyperventilating.’ (ID50)
As-needed combination‘It is very hard [to decipher the cause] because if it’s anxiety coming first and then you get the shortness of breath, it makes the anxiety worse. But then if it’s the shortness of breath first, because I had very bad asthma as a kid… then the shortness of breath leads to even more anxiety cause you're freaking out, you know, like a catch 22.’ (ID26)
2.6 Experiencing uncontrolled asthma symptoms or progressively worsening control:
Maintenance‘Normally when I’m sick, if it’s anything to do with my chest (e.g. a chest infection, or anything that affects my breathing) my asthma gets really bad so I have to go on prednisone.’ (ID11)
As-needed combination‘I’d noticed now I’m in my 40s, [my asthma] seemed to be getting worse. I just seemed to be needing [my reliever] more, um and I wasn’t really sure [why]. There didn’t seem to be rhyme or reason as well. It wasn’t seasonal. It was definitely worse if I was sick.’ (ID87)
2.7 Hindrances on life due to mild asthma:
MaintenanceI really make every effort that I'm not late for the bus that I don't have to run for it…I absolutely avoid exercise… I've had a couple of times where it’s been very scary…so I'm just more careful now…[instead] I garden’. (ID23)
As-needed combination‘Because colds would generally sort of settle on my chest and then exacerbate my asthma I’d find it really difficult just to do simple things like getting up and down stairs.’ (ID81)
  • *RCT allocation group of quoted interviewee.

  • RCT, randomised controlled trial.