This study characterizes the attitudes regarding asthma and asthma care of low-income, African-American adults who receive care from acute care settings. As a point of reference, their attitudes and knowledge were compared with those of a group of patients receiving asthma care from a private setting that stresses preventive asthma self-management. Patients were assessed regarding attitudes toward (1) routine asthma self-care and decisions as to when to self-treat versus seek asthma care, (2) administration of asthma medications, (3) satisfaction with acute-care services, and (4) the desire for asthma education. Asthma morbidity, sociodemographic characteristics, awareness of environmental triggers, and daily stressors were also assessed. Responses of adults receiving most of their asthma care from acute care settings suggest the same pattern of failure to treat asthma regularly and delay in seeking care as implicated in asthma deaths among children. Emphasis on self-treatment of asthma symptoms, not preventive selfmanagement, was apparent among the attitudes of the acute care patients. Lack of regular care, delay of treatment, and reliance on self-treatment via over-the-counter medications was noted. Implications of these findings for the development of asthma education programs are addressed.