Project: South Asian asthma self-management

Developing and piloting asthma self-management interventions for South Asians

UK born South Asians have distinct asthma experiences compared to other ethnicities including poorer asthma outcomes, higher hospital admissions, risk of re-hospitalisation and higher death rates.

One important approach in addressing this inequality is to identify and implement culturally relevant and effective asthma self-management interventions, which is explicitly recommended in asthma clinical guidelines. Yet, implementation of self-management in routine clinical care is typically poor.

What are we doing about it?

Using the East London South Asian population as an exemplar, the project aims to explore how culturally relevant asthma self-management interventions need to be tailored, developed and tested for the South Asian population.

South Asian asthma self-management interviews

Part of the study involves us talking to South Asians in East London, to find out more about how they manage their own asthma.  We are currently looking for people to take part in these interviews.

Participant information

Younger South Asians who are born in the UK have various cultural differences (e.g. English speaking ability, better education and employment then the first generation who migrated to the UK). Yet, they still find it difficult to manage their own asthma suggesting:

  1. Asthma needs self-management.
  2. Interventions need to be culturally tailored (taking into account an individual’s cultural background that influence health behaviour) in the UK e.g. acculturation (changes that occur from coming in contact with another culture in a new environment), and cultural hybridity (abilities gained from being a part of two or more cultures such as use of resources e.g. bilingual language ability).
  3. We need to understand how to help people from different South Asian subcultures (e.g. Bangladeshis and Pakistanis) and generations to look after their asthma better.

For the qualitative study (phase 1) we propose to:

  1. Conduct semi-structured interviews with up to 38 South Asians (Bangladeshi and Pakistani) across different generations (first, second and third) on how they look after their asthma.
  2. Use patient interview data to identify relevant healthcare/other professionals important to patient asthma care and then explore up to 10 healthcare/other professional perspectives and challenges of providing asthma self-management support to these patients.

Participants who cannot read, write or speak in English will be given a translated audio recorded patient information sheet and a recorded verbal consent will be taken.

For the intervention development study (phase 2), we aim to design, develop and refine a prototype culturally tailored asthma self-management intervention for UK born South Asians, using findings from the qualitative study, with a working group of up to 10 South Asians (5 Bangladeshi and 5 Pakistani) and up to 6 relevant healthcare professionals using structured feedback questions.

All participants will be recruited using a purposeful sampling from mixed settings. Data will be analysed using thematic analysis.

Download information leaflets

  • Do you have asthma?
  • Are you Bangladeshi/British-Bangladeshi or Pakistani/British-Pakistani?
  • Aged 16 or above?
  • Based in London?

Are you interested in participating in the interviews for the qualitative study and/or the intervention development study?

Please read the patient information sheet and fill in the Expression of interest form, below. Email the form to the principal researcher, Salina Ahmed

Qualitative study – Patient Information Sheet

Qualitative study – Expression Of Interest form

Intervention development - Patient Information Sheet

Intervention development - Expression Of Interest form

Key People

Salina Ahmed Headshot
Salina Ahmed
PhD Student
Queen Mary University of London
View profile
Hilary Pinnock Headshot
Hilary Pinnock
Lead: Optimising management of asthma attacks, Lead: Postgraduate Training, Network Coordinator
Stephanie Taylor photo
Stephanie Taylor


Oct 2014 - tbc

Contact us

More information about the study

The project compromises of 4 stages as detailed below:

  1. A systematic review of randomised controlled trials which examines the barriers and facilitators in asthma self-management behaviour and identifies the essential components of asthma self-management interventions in the South Asian and Black population.
  2. A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with patients and healthcare professionals examining the role of culture (i.e. intergroup subcultural heterogeneity, acculturation and cultural hybridity) on asthma self-management behaviour.

Whilst the following is the proposed outline for study 3 and 4, as the project progresses these will be refined through various stages of research:

  1. Based on study 1 and 2, the third stage of the project is the co-development (design and refinement) of a culturally relevant asthma self-management intervention with a working group of South Asian patients and relevant healthcare professionals.
  2. A small feasibility study of the intervention in either healthcare services or community organisations.

A specified output will be a culturally tailored asthma intervention for the South Asian community. More widely research will inform the generic process of developing culturally relevant interventions for other chronic illness and healthcare services.


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