Asian / Pacific Island Nursing Journal

Corresponding Author

May K. Kealoha



Native Hawaiian children have the highest prevalence of asthma among all ethnicities in Hawai‘i. Mālama Part 2 describes continuing research, exploring contemporary native Hawaiian parents’ perspective and experience of caring for their children with asthma in the context of uncertainty while living on the islands of Hawaiʻi, Kauaʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi.


Descriptive qualitative approach by means of directed content analysis using focus groups was applied to this study. Eight open-ended questions elicited asthma history, asthma management, and how the Hawaiian culture affects parents’ health practices. Directed content analysis applied Mishel’s Uncertainty in Illness Theory (UIT) to guide data collection, organization, and analysis.


Thirty-three native Hawaiian parents with a child with asthma met in 9 separate focus groups during 2012-2015 on the islands of Hawaiʻi, Kauaʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi.


The study’s findings were congruent with the first Mālama study results of focus groups on Oʻahu. Contextual influences including indigenous world view, cultural values, history, and assimilation and acculturation factors affected native Hawaiian parents’ perceptions and experiences with conventional asthma care. Moreover, Hawaiian parents living on islands outside of metropolitan Oʻahu reported geographic barriers that contributed to their uncertainty.


Political action is required for comprehensive medical care, health education, and nursing services to be delivered to families living on all islands. Integrating Hawaiian cultural values, involving ‘ohana, and applying complementary alternative therapies as well as standard asthma management will strongly support native Hawaiian parents caring for their children with asthma.