Depression in Parents Impacts Pediatric Asthma Care

By Tamara Thomas - February 13, 2023

Depression in parents may negatively impact asthma care for their children. Therefore, addressing parental mental health is crucial for effective asthma management in children, according to a new paper published in the Allergy and Clinical Immunology Journal.

Dr. E. Sherwood Brown and researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo examined if the amount of time a caregiver was not depressed affected how well a child’s asthma was controlled when they left the study. To study the issue, the investigators followed caregivers with major depressive disorder and their children (ages 7-17) with persistent asthma for 1 year.

The researchers noted children suffering from asthma are more prone to airway constriction and aggravation of symptoms when they undergo stress and depression. This poor asthma control could exacerbate the child’s preexisting depression. Furthermore, the researchers highlighted that when caregivers have high levels of depression, it puts additional stress on the child, which can further worsen their asthma control and depressive symptoms.

“Moreover, asthma is a medical illness that is sensitive to a patient’s mood as well as medication adherence,” said Dr. E. Sherwood Brown, a professor of psychiatry.

The study also discovered that when the caregiver’s depression improved, the children had fewer asthma attacks and better control over their asthma. This improvement in asthma control was partly due to the decrease in the severity of depressive symptoms in children.

The study findings led the researchers to conclude that screening and treating depression in caregivers of children with asthma may lead to better outcomes for the children.

According to Dr. Brown, health care providers may need to think more broadly when treating patients. “It might be useful to screen for depression both in children with asthma and their caregivers,” Brown added. “Identifying depression in the caregiver and providing effective treatment might help improve asthma control in the child.”

Source: US news

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