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Maternal depressive symptoms and lung function in Puerto Rican children

Published online: October 28, 2020

Puerto Rican women are more likely to report depressive symptoms than women in other racial or ethnic groups, and Puerto Rican children are twice as likely to have current asthma as non-Hispanic white children. Moreover, maternal depression has been associated with childhood asthma. To date, whether persistent or increasing maternal depressive symptoms over several years affect lung function or severe asthma attacks in children is largely unknown.

In the article published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Stevens and Han et al examined the relation between change in maternal depressive symptoms and lung function or severe asthma attacks in a prospective study of 386 Puerto Rican youth, aged 6 to 14 years at a baseline visit and 9 to 20 years at a second visit. Of the 386 participating children, 213 had asthma and 173 did not.

Among all participants, increased maternal depressive symptoms between the two study visits were associated with decreased lung function (measured by the FEV1 and FEV1/FVC) between the two visits. Among children with asthma, persistent maternal depression (substantial depressive symptoms at both study visits) was associated a more than threefold increased risk of having a severe asthma attack in the year prior to the second study visit.

Increased or persistent maternal depressive symptoms over approximately 5 years are associated with worse lung function and severe asthma attacks in Puerto Rican children.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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