Sydney: Young children with severe or persistent asthma are more likely to develop many common mental health problems like anxiety and depression, an Australian study says.
University of Western Australia (UWA) psychologist and study co-author Monique Robinson said their findings build on previous studies which have found that as the severity of asthma increases, so do problems such as anxiety and depression.
"We were interested in understanding the link between asthma in early childhood and mental health problems later on as little is known about the relationship," Robinson said, the journal Psychological Medicine reports.
"We looked at whether the link was present for mild as well as severe asthma, and whether the link depended on asthma symptoms being persistent throughout childhood as opposed to asthma that lessens as the child grows older," added Robin, according to an UWA statement.
The study used western Australian data from the Raine Study to determine whether children who had asthma at five years were vulnerable for later mental health problems through to the age of 17 years.
The research team found that having asthma at age five was tied to a higher vulnerability for the later development of problems such as anxiety, conduct problems and affective problems.
When the children with asthma were separated into groups depending on the severity of their condition, children with mild asthma were no different to those without asthma in terms of mental health outcomes, but children with severe or persistent asthma were seen to be the most at risk of future mental health problems.