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Can J Psychiatry. 1999 Aug;44(6):562-9.

Prevalence of DSM-IV disorders in children and adolescents with asthma versus diabetes.

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  • 1Service de Psychopathologie de l'Enfant et de l'Adolescent, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris, France.



To evaluate the relationships between asthma and type and incidence of psychiatric problems in a pediatric population.


A series of 93 children and adolescents with asthma presenting during a 1-year period to a pediatric pneumology and allergy service was studied. Their psychopathological problems were compared with those of 93 children with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Various questionnaires were completed by the patients: the Child Depression Inventory (CDI), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC), and the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (SEI). Their parents were administered the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). The patients were examined using the revised Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (K-SADS-R).


There were more symptoms in the asthma group than in the IDDM group, as indicated by total CBCL scores, internalization and externalization CBCL subscores, and the STAIC scores. Asthma was often associated with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) psychiatric disorders. We found 30 anxiety disorders, 5 affective disorders, and 6 disruptive behaviour disorders. Asthmatic children did not seem to be more depressed than the IDDM group, and their self-esteem, overall, was good. However, the asthma subgroup presenting with psychiatric disorders had poorer self-esteem and social competence. Adolescents did not seem to suffer more psychiatric disturbances than did younger patients. Girls did not suffer more psychiatric disturbances than did boys.


Asthma appears to be associated both with higher overall incidence of psychiatric problems than in IDDM and with particular categories of psychiatric problems. In particular, the problems include anxiety disorders, internalizing symptoms, and disruptive behaviours.

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