Children with asthma at-risk for mental health issues

(Medical Xpress)—A new study has found that young children with severe or persistent asthma are at higher risk of developing many common mental health problems.

The research, a collaboration between researchers at The University of Western Australia affiliated Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and Columbia University in New York, has been published online in the top international journal .

UWA psychologist and report co-author Dr Monique Robinson said the findings build on previous studies which have found that as the severity of increases, so do problems such as .

"We were interested in understanding the link between asthma in and later on as little is known about the relationship," Dr Robinson said.

"We looked at whether the link was present for mild as well as severe asthma, and whether the link depended on being persistent throughout childhood as opposed to asthma that lessens as the child grows older."

The study used Western Australian data from the Raine Study to determine whether children who had asthma at age 5 were vulnerable for later mental health problems through to the age of 17 years.

The research team found that having asthma at age five was associated with a higher vulnerability for the later development of problems such as anxiety, conduct problems and affective problems.

When the children with asthma were separated into groups depending on the severity of their condition, children with were no different to those without asthma in terms of mental health outcomes, but children with severe or persistent asthma were seen to be the most at risk of future mental health problems.

"The link with mental health was not present when children had asthma early in life but grew out of it by later childhood. However, children whose asthma developed later in childhood were at risk for internalizing mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, somatic problems but not externalizing problems like behavior issues," Dr Robinson said.

"We did find that as children got older, the likelihood that they would experience a mental health problem decreased, perhaps indicating that as children get older they are better able to adjust to their asthma without experiencing psychological difficulties."

Dr Robinson said that it probably wasn't asthma itself that caused mental health problems, but rather the added challenges for the child of dealing with a chronic disease.

She said the study supports the need to assess psychological functioning as part of routine care for children with a chronic or severe disease, including for those with severe and throughout childhood.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Missed sleep may contribute to asthma morbidity

Jul 17, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Missed sleep may contribute to asthma morbidity in urban children, according to a study published in the July issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Children's asthma affected by parental expectations

Oct 06, 2008

Asthmatic children whose parents have high expectations for their ability to function normally are less likely to have symptoms than other children dealing with the condition, according to a new study. Children also are more ...

Recommended for you

Suicide risk falls substantially after talk therapy

7 hours ago

Repeat suicide attempts and deaths by suicide were roughly 25 percent lower among a group of Danish people who underwent voluntary short-term psychosocial counseling after a suicide attempt, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ...

Brains transform remote threats into anxiety

Nov 21, 2014

Modern life can feel defined by low-level anxiety swirling through society. Continual reports about terrorism and war. A struggle to stay on top of family finances and hold onto jobs. An onslaught of news ...

Mental disorders due to permanent stress

Nov 21, 2014

Activated through permanent stress, immune cells will have a damaging effect on and cause changes to the brain. This may result in mental disorders. The effects of permanent stress on the immune system are studied by the ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.