The Association of School Absences With Education Attainment in Children With Asthma in San Antonio, Texas From 2011 - 2016

Donna D Gardner, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background: Asthma is one of the most common childhood chronic disease in the United States and 14.1% of children in Bexar County younger than 17 years of age have current asthma.1,2 Childhood asthma has the potential to adversely affect school attendance and academic success. The association between asthma status, student absences and grade promotion have been poorly investigated. Methods: This study examined student demographic and absence records of students enrolled in the 1st through 12th grades between 2010-11 and 2016-17 school years to determine the associations of student asthma status with school absence and promotion. All data was examined separately by year to examine any differences by year. To examine if there were differences in absence and promotion by student demographic characteristics, all data were stratified by student demographic characteristics. Because data was consistent across the study period, the 2016-17 school year results are being reported in Article 1. Article 1 will focus on the association of asthma and absence. Article 2 focus is the association of asthma and grade promotion and the main year presented is the 2015-16 school year results because of large number of students being categorized as promotion “unknown” in 2016-17 school year. Results: The overall student enrollment in the 1st through 12th grade for the 2016-17 school year was 65,545 boys and girls. The sample consisted of mainly boys (51.2%), of White race (71.6%), of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity (58.7%) and students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The prevalence of students identified as having asthma slowly rose from 4.9% in the first year to 7.4% in the fifth year and 6.7% in the sixth year. There was a higher proportion of students with asthma among boys (7.3%), among Blacks (10.1%), among students enrolled in the NSLP, among those who had missed at least one day during the school year (7.1%), especially among students who had missed 18 or more days (10.1%). Most students (90%) missed at least one day of school with a median number of absent days of six (p25=3, p75=10) and the highest proportion of students with absent days were absent between two and five days (38.2%). In 2015-16, majority of students successfully promoted to a higher grade or graduated from school (84.8%), and the overall proportion of grade promotion failure was highest in high school (5.9%) mainly from 12th grade (11.0%) and 9th grade (7.2%). Conclusion: Even though majority of students miss at least one day of school, students with asthma miss more days of school. However, students with asthma successfully promote to the following grade or graduate at similar rates as students without asthma.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Public health

Recommended Citation

Gardner, Donna D, "The Association of School Absences With Education Attainment in Children With Asthma in San Antonio, Texas From 2011 - 2016" (2017). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10685635.