A new research study has found a link between parental depression and asthma in children, showing that when a parent receives treatment for depression there is a good possibility that the child’s asthma will improve. Studies have shown that kids with asthma are more likely to experience depression, and when a caregiver or parent for a child with asthma is depressed then the child will typically experience worsening symptoms. The latest study on this topic had led researchers from the University of Texas, Dallas, and the University of Buffalo to recruit 200 individual families so that further research and studies can be performed. The studies will take place at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.
The new research on children with asthma and depression in a parent or caregiver will screen the caregivers of children diagnosed with asthma to identify caregiver or parental depression. According to psychiatry and pediatrics professors Beatrice Wood, Ph.D. and Bruce Miller, M.D., “We are hypothesizing that an improvement in the caregiver’s depression will lead to a subsequent improvement in the child’s asthma. We have continuously found associations between emotional stress and worsening asthma, and that family relational stress plays a key role. We have specifically shown that a negative family emotional climate predicts worse asthma disease activity.”
Wood and Miller continued to explain the link with worsening asthma symptoms in children and parental depression, saying “When the parents’ depression got better, the children’s asthma got better. If a caregiver is depressed he or she may be less able to carry out the care of a child, especially a fragile child who is vulnerable with illness, They may not be able to manage the child’s medications or get the child to the doctor when necessary. At the same time our previous studies have shown that depression in the parent cascades into negative parent-child relationships, child depression, and worse asthma.”