Abuse during childhood linked to adult-onset asthma in African-American women

December 7, 2012, Boston University Medical Center

According to a new study from the Slone Epidemiology Center (SEC) at Boston University, African-American women who reported suffering abuse before age 11 had a greater likelihood of adult-onset asthma compared to women whose childhood and adolescence were free of abuse.

The study, which is published online in the , was led by Patricia Coogan, DSc, senior epidemiologist at SEC and associate professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health.

This study followed 28,456 African-American , all of whom are participants in the Black Women's Health Study, between 1995-2011. They completed health questionnaires and provided information on physical and sexual abuse during childhood up to age 11 and adolescence, ages 12-18.

The results indicate that the incidence of adult-onset asthma was increased by more than 20 percent among women who had been abused during childhood. The evidence was stronger for physical abuse than for sexual abuse. There was little indication, however, that abuse during adolescence was associated with the risk of adult-onset asthma.

"This is the first prospective study to show an association between childhood abuse and adult-onset asthma," said Coogan. "The results suggest that contributes to asthma onset, even years later." The hypothesized mechanism linking childhood abuse to asthma incidence is stress and its physiological consequences, particularly effects on the immune system and on airway development.

According to 2010 statistics from the United States Department of Health and Human Service's (HHS) National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, approximately 695,000 children aged 0-17 were identified as neglected or abused by state Child Protective Service agencies, and 22 percent of neglected or abused children were African-American. National statistics show that asthma is more prevalent in African-Americans.

"Given the high prevalence of and of in the United States, the association is of significant public health importance," Coogan added.

Explore further: Researchers find link between childhood abuse and age at menarche

Related Stories

Researchers find link between childhood abuse and age at menarche

July 27, 2012
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found an association between childhood physical and sexual abuse and age at menarche. The findings are published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Abused girls may have higher risk of heart disease, stroke as adults

November 13, 2011
Sexually and physically abused girls may have higher risks for heart attacks, heart disease and strokes as adults, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011.

Researchers find abuse during childhood may contribute to obesity in adulthood

July 2, 2012
Investigators from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center report research findings that may shed light on influences on obesity during adulthood. Appearing in the journal ...

Recommended for you

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

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.