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In summary, analysis of a large, nationally representative survey of young children revealed substantial discordance between maternal reports and medical records on asthma. Mothers identified many children as asthmatic that doctors did not report, and conversely, doctors reported many children as asthmatic that their mothers did not call asthmatic.

These differences resulted in varying estimates of asthma prevalence in the general child population. In addition, the characteristics of children identified as asthmatic varied substantially depending on which source of asthma reporting was used. Analyses of maternally-reported cases found more socioeconomic and behavioral characteristics to be predictive of asthma than did analyses of asthma cases identified in medical records.