Introduction Asthma and violence are two complex, multi-factorial phenomena strongly present in Latin America and Brazil. Studies about asthma demonstrate that there are a number of risk factors for the development of the disease; among these are: poverty, diet and psycho-social factors. Violence, in particular community violence, is a significant psycho-social factor.
Objective To identify the degree of community violence reported by carers of children between 4 and 12 years old and the influence of this exposure on the occurrence of asthma symptoms in childhood.
Methods A transversal study was undertaken with 1232 carers resident in 24 areas of the city of Salvador. We investigated asthma symptoms in children and acts of violence in the community.
Results More than 75% of carers had been victims of community violence over the last year, with 20% indicating high degrees of co-existence with this phenomenon. Children exposed to the maximum degree of violence presented greater prevalence of asthma symptoms, peaking at 28.4%, compared to 16.4% in non-exposed children. Children whose carers are exposed to the maximum degree of violence were almost twice as likely to present with these symptoms (ORajs* 1.94 95% CI 1.12 to 3.36).
Conclusion Exposure to community violence demonstrated a strong association with increase in the prevalence of asthma symptoms, highlighting the importance of this psychosocial risk factor in the manifestation of this disease.
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