Maternal depression can worsen asthma in kids

Washington, Nov 20 ( Maternal depression can worsen asthma symptoms in children, says a new study.

Analysing data from interviews with 262 mothers, Johns Hopkins investigators found that children whose mums had more depressive symptoms had more frequent asthma symptoms during the six-month study.

Conversely, children whose mothers reported fewer depressive symptoms had less frequent asthma symptoms.

“Even though our research was not set up to measure just how much a mom’s depression increased the frequency of her child’s symptoms, a clear pattern emerged in which the latter followed the earlier,” says senior investigator Kristin Riekert, paediatric psychologist at the Johns Hopkins Adherence Research Centre.

Past studies have shown that children with chronic health conditions fare worse if their primary caregiver is depressed but none have teased out the exact interplay between the two.

“Intuitively, it may seem that we’re dealing with a chicken-egg situation, but our study suggests otherwise,” Riekert says.

Asthma is the leading paediatric chronic illness in the US, affecting 6.5 million children under 18 years, according to the CDC. The research findings were published online in the Journal of Paediatric Psychology.