Increasing evidence demonstrates that adolescents with asthma are at greater risk for anxiety and depression. However, few studies have investigated the association of psychological disorders with asthma symptoms, an important factor in evaluating asthma treatment. Now the results of a large population-based study of adolescents with asthma confirm that anxiety and depression are highly associated with increased asthma symptoms.
A telephone survey of 767 youths (aged 11 to 17 years) used the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children to evaluate anxiety and depressive disorders, a modified Child Health Status-Asthma questionnaire to assess asthma symptoms, and automated administrative data to measure asthma severity and the intensity of asthma treatment. Persons with 1 or more anxiety or depressive disorders (N = 125) reported a significantly higher number of days with asthma symptoms over 2 weeks than did those with no anxiety or depression. Logistic regression analyses, which adjusted for demographic characteristics, objective measures of asthma severity, medical comorbidity, and asthma treatment intensity, revealed that the presence of an anxiety or depressive disorder was strongly associated with both asthma-specific symptoms and related nonspecific somatic symptoms (Table).