Mother's Stress Levels Affect Child's Asthma Status

Different types of parental stress and coping behaviors predict child's asthma severity
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Different types of emotional stress and coping behaviors among mothers may have different impacts on children's asthma status, according to a study published Oct. 7 in BioPsychoSocial Medicine.

Jun Nagano, M.D., of the Kyushu University Institute of Health Science in Fukuoka, Japan, and colleagues surveyed 274 mothers of an asthmatic child aged 2 to 12 years regarding their chronic stress/coping behaviors, parenting attitudes, and their child's disease status. One year later, 223 mothers responded to a follow-up survey that included questions on their child's disease status.

After controlling for non-psychosocial factors, the investigators found that chronic irritation and anger among mothers as well as emotional suppression were associated with more severe asthmatic disease in the following year among children younger than 7 years of age. Among children age 7 and older, a mother's interference was associated with more severe disease, while a mother's egocentric behavior was a mitigating factor.

"Clinicians may benefit by considering an alternative strategy of 'treating the parents to heal the child,' where the mothers of younger children are advised not to be too worried about if they are falling into 'unfavorable' parenting styles, but to pay more attention to the reduction of their own stress," the authors write. "Mothers of older children would be encouraged to increase their own well-being via proper egocentric and self-defensive activities, being careful to avoid too much interference with their children."

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