Factors associated with poor control of 9/11-related asthma 10–11 years after the 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks

Jordan, Hannah T.; Stellman, Steven D.; Reibman, Joan; Farfel, Mark R.; Brackbill, Robert M.; Friedman, Stephen M.; Li, Jiehui; Cone, James E.

Objective: To identify key factors associated with poor asthma control among adults in the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry, a longitudinal study of rescue/recovery workers and community members who were directly exposed to the 2001 WTC terrorist attacks and their aftermath. Methods: We studied incident asthma diagnosed by a physician from 12 September 2001 through 31 December 2003 among participants aged ≥18 on 11 September 2001, as reported on an enrollment (2003–2004) or follow-up questionnaire. Based on modified National Asthma Education and Prevention Program criteria, asthma was considered controlled, poorly-controlled, or very poorly-controlled at the time of a 2011–2012 follow-up questionnaire. Probable post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and generalized anxiety disorder were defined using validated scales. Self-reported gastroesophageal reflux symptoms (GERS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) were obtained from questionnaire responses. Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with poor or very poor asthma control. Results: Among 2445 participants, 33.7% had poorly-controlled symptoms and 34.6% had very poorly-controlled symptoms in 2011–2012. Accounting for factors including age, education, body mass index, and smoking, there was a dose–response relationship between the number of mental health conditions and poorer asthma control. Participants with three mental health conditions had five times the odds of poor control and 13 times the odds of very poor control compared to participants without mental health comorbidities. GERS and OSA were significantly associated with poor or very poor control. Conclusions: Rates of poor asthma control were very high in this group with post-9/11 diagnosed asthma. Comprehensive care of 9/11-related asthma should include management of mental and physical health comorbidities.


  • thumnail for Jordan_2015_AsthmaControl_JAsthma.pdf Jordan_2015_AsthmaControl_JAsthma.pdf application/pdf 188 KB Download File

Also Published In

Journal of Asthma

More About This Work

Academic Units
Published Here
June 13, 2015