Moms' Stress Tied to Kids' Asthma Risk
Long-Term Maternal Stress May Pose Asthma Risk for Children, Study Shows
WebMD News Archive
Jan. 15, 2008 -- Children's odds of developing asthma
may be higher if their mothers are under long-term stress, a Canadian study shows.
The study included nearly 14,000 children born in 1995 in the Canadian
province of Manitoba. Nearly 7% of the kids had been diagnosed with asthma by
The researchers focused on maternal distress, based on doctor visits,
hospitalizations, and prescriptions for depression or anxiety any time from the child's birth until age 7. Pregnancy stress wasn't included.
Children of mothers with long-term stress (not just postpartum stress) were
25% more likely than other kids to develop asthma, regardless of other asthma
risk factors, such as gender, urban or rural location, and neighborhood
Those risks were even steeper for children of stressed, high-income moms and
for kids with at least one sibling.
The researchers aren't blaming stressed moms for children's asthma. And it's
not clear how moms' stress affects kids' odds of developing asthma.
But the researchers conclude that "maternal distress in early life plays
a role in the development of childhood asthma, especially if it continues
beyond the postpartum period."
The University of Manitoba's Anita Kozyrskyj, PhD, and colleagues report
their findings in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care