Objective: This study explored young university students’ (aged 18–24 years) health literacy, asthma experiences and help-seeking behaviours to inform the development of a web-based asthma education intervention relevant to this age group. Design: Exploratory mixed-methods design incorporateing a health literacy survey and interviews, plus the development of a web-based educational video. Setting: Participants were students at two universities in the state of Victoria, Australia. Method: In total, 20 asthma sufferers were interviewed by trained pairs of university students. Interpretative phenomenology underpinned the narrative analysis and enabled the description of the participants’ lived experience. A branching e-simulation video was developed. Results: A number of key themes were identified: ‘Life with asthma’, including ‘A life of vigilance’ regarding asthma triggers, lifestyle limitations and heightened sensitivities; ‘Asthma management – call Mum’, a lack of knowledge and support systems with substantial maternal reliance; ‘Health literacy: family and Dr Google’, denoting low health literacy levels with passive reluctant involvement in personal health management; and ‘Information gathering – one size doesn’t fit all’ – in the form of the need for immediate gratification and resource variety. Based on interviewees’ words and terminology, we designed an interactive branching educational video for YouTube portraying a young person (an actor) during an asthma flare-up. Conclusion: Young adults lacked insight into their condition and even after moving away from home, relied on Google searches and/or parents’ advice. To enhance health-seeking behaviours, interactive programmes with smartphone access may be valuable. Our open access programme Help Trent Vent provides an educational resource for young people with asthma and for health education teams, to reinforce asthma knowledge.
- asthma management
- health education
- young adults
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health