4208.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - 2:30 PM

Abstract #14828

Is there a Causal Relationship between Childhood Asthma and Childhood Depression?: A Retrospective Cohort Study of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth

Lee M. Sanders, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University, 750 Welch Road, Ste. 325, Palo Alto, CA 94304, 650-725-8314, leesanders@stanford.edu

Objective: To determine the strength of association between persistent asthma and development of depressive signs and symptoms during childhood.

Background: Several cross-sectional studies have proposed a significant association between asthma and depression during childhood. Most rely on parent report. None have examined a longitudinal national sample.

Design/Methods: The NLSY 1994 and 1996 surveyed a representative sample of children in the United States. Independent Variables: Asthma was defined by parent report of child diagnosis. Chronic illness was defined by parent report that the child had physical health limitations but no asthma. All other children were defined as "healthy." Outcome Variables: Depressive symptomes were defined by parent report (subscale of Behavior Problems Index >75%ile). Prevalence was defined by >75%ile in 1996. Incidence of depressive symptoms was defined by <75%ile in 1994 and >75%ile in 1996. Logistic regression analyses included 7 demographic and socioeconomic variables.

Results: 4798 subjects had complete information from the BPI in 1994 and 1996. Within that population, 91 cases of asthma and 39 cases of chronic illness were identified. The median age of children in the study was 11 years.

Conclusions: Children with persistent asthma have over 3.7 times the odds of children without chronic illness to develop new signs of depression over a 2-year period. Clinicians should anticipate the mental health needs of children with persistent asthma and other physical illness, and further research should investigate the biologic plausibility of interactions between asthma and affective illness.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this discussion, the participants will be able (1) to appreciate the strength of the relationship between childhood asthma and depressive symptoms and (2) to debate the the temporal relationship between childhood asthma and incidence of depressive symptoms during childhood

Keywords: Asthma, Depression

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA