Children with asthma at-risk for mental health issues

September 13, 2012

(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.

Explore further: Increased risk of developing asthma by age of 3 after cesarean section

Related Stories

Increased risk of developing asthma by age of 3 after cesarean section

January 10, 2012
A new study supports previous findings that children delivered by cesarean section have an increased risk of developing asthma. The study from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) suggests that children delivered ...

Lack of health insurance linked to fewer asthma diagnoses in children

October 27, 2011
Providing health insurance to more children could lead to diagnosing additional cases of mild or intermittent asthma, a new study shows. Some who treat childhood asthma say this could increase the number of kids receiving ...

Missed sleep may contribute to asthma morbidity

July 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.

Recommended for you

Anti-stress compound reduces obesity and diabetes

December 13, 2017
For the first time, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich could prove that a stress protein found in muscle has a diabetes promoting effect. This finding could pave the way to a completely new treatment ...

Encouraging risk-taking in children may reduce the prevalence of childhood anxiety

December 13, 2017
A new international study suggests that parents who employ challenging parent behavioural (CPB) methods – active physical and verbal behaviours that encourage children to push their limits – are likely protecting their ...

Researchers link epigenetic aging to bipolar disorder

December 12, 2017
Bipolar disorder may involve accelerated epigenetic aging, which could explain why persons with the disorder are more likely to have - and die from - age-related diseases, according to researchers from The University of Texas ...

Researchers find common psychological traits in group of Italians aged 90 to 101

December 12, 2017
In remote Italian villages nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and mountains lives a group of several hundred citizens over the age of 90. Researchers at the University of Rome La Sapienza and University of California San ...

Twitter can reveal our shared mood

December 11, 2017
In the largest study of its kind, researchers from the University of Bristol have analysed mood indicators in text from 800 million anonymous messages posted on Twitter. These tweets were found to reflect strong patterns ...

New therapy can help schizophrenia sufferers re-engage socially

December 11, 2017
A new therapy aimed at helping young people suffering from schizophrenia to reconnect and engage with the world around them has had promising results, according to a new University of Sussex-led study.

0 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.