Parent's Depression: Link to Child's Asthma?

Posted on March 15, 2016

Photo: flickr

Studies have shown that children with asthma are at higher risk for depression. Research also has shown an association between a parent or caregiver's depression and worsening symptoms in an asthmatic child. Now researchers at the University at Buffalo and the University of Texas, Dallas are exploring this connection further: They are beginning a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study to determine whether treating a depressed caregiver will improve the child's asthma.

A previous pilot study conducted by Brown at UT Southwestern Medical Center saw encouraging results. In that study, children who had been hospitalized with asthma improved when their parents, who screened positive for depression, were treated with antidepressants, even though the child's asthma treatment was not changed.

"When the parents' depression got better, the children's asthma got better," said Miller, the professor of psychiatry and pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB and also co-founder and director of the Center for Child and Family Asthma Studies at WCHOB (Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo).

The purpose of the current study is to confirm these findings and better understand the mechanisms underlying the effect. "If a caregiver is depressed he or she may be less able to carry out the care of a child, especially a fragile child who is vulnerable with illness," Miller explained. "They may not be able to manage the child's medications or get the child to the doctor when necessary."

Category(s):Depression, Health / Illness / Medical Issues, Parenting

Source material from University of Buffalo

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