Asthma may increase the risk of comorbid depressive disorders in children. Children suffering from asthma or depression are more often overweight. We examined whether depression was more likely in children with atopic and nonatopic asthma, independent of abdominal adiposity.
A cross-sectional analysis was performed on data collected in the Study of Asthma, Genes, and Environment in Canada. Children aged 11 to 14 years were assessed by a pediatric allergist to confirm asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis diagnosis. Atopic asthma was defined based on skin prick testing and allergic asthma based on the presence of allergic rhinitis or atopic dermatitis in addition to asthma. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Children’s Depression Inventory-Short Form. Data were analyzed using logistic regression modeling to determine likelihood of depression in children with asthma, stratified by gender and adjusting for ethnicity, waist circumference (WC), and atopy.
Four hundred thirty-one children aged 11 to 14 years (136 with asthma and 295 without asthma) were studied. After adjusting for the covariates, girls who had nonatopic or nonallergic asthma were three times more likely to have comorbid depressive symptoms compared with healthy girls (OR, 2.84; 95% CI, 1.00-8.10; OR, 3.47; 95% CI, 1.30-9.25, respectively). For each 10-cm increase in WC of girls, our model showed a 39% to 56% increase in the chance of depression. In boys, neither asthma nor WC showed an association with depression.
We recommend all health practitioners who see girls with asthma or girls who are overweight watch for depressive symptoms and treat comorbid depression seriously.