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Original Research: OBSTRUCTIVE LUNG DISEASES |

Depression Is More Common in Girls With Nonatopic AsthmaDepression and Asthma in Children

Salma Bahreinian, MD; Geoff D. C. Ball, PhD, RD; Ian Colman, PhD; Allan B. Becker, MD; Anita L. Kozyrskyj, PhD
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Pediatrics (Dr Ball), Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry (Drs Bahreinian, Ball, and Kozyrskyj), and the Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public Health (Drs Colman and Kozyrskyj), University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB; and the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine (Dr Becker), University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.

Correspondence to: Salma Bahreinian, MD, 8226b Aberhart Centre, 11402 University Ave, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2J3, Canada; e-mail: bahreini@ualberta.ca


For editorial comment see page 1108

Funding/Support: This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR): new emerging team and operating grants. Dr Bahreinian is supported by a studentship from the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI) in Edmonton. Drs Ball and Colman were supported by a Population Health Investigator Award from Alberta Innovates–Health Solutions and a New Investigator Award from CIHR. Dr Kozyrskyj’s research chair was supported by the WCHRI/Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2011 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2011;140(5):1138-1145. doi:10.1378/chest.11-0219
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Background:  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.

Methods:  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.

Results:  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.

Conclusions:  We recommend all health practitioners who see girls with asthma or girls who are overweight watch for depressive symptoms and treat comorbid depression seriously.

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