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Depress Anxiety. 2006;23(8):502-8.

Prevalence and correlates of asthma in children with internalizing psychopathology.

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Department of Psychology, Southern Methodist University, 6424 Hilltop Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, USA.


Our objective was to determine the prevalence rate of parent-reported asthma in children with internalizing disorders seeking psychological treatment, and to study the level of internalizing and externalizing problems in these patients compared to patients without asthma. Participants were 367 children (ages 5-18 years) with internalizing disorders seeking psychological treatment. Children's psychiatric diagnosis was established with the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for DSM-IV-Child and Parent versions. Parents reported on their child's asthma diagnosis, medical history, and medication usage. Child psychopathology was assessed with the Child Behavior Checklist and by child self-report with the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children and the Children's Depression Inventory. We assessed internalizing psychopathology of the mothers with the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale. An additional diagnosis of parent-reported asthma was established for 15% of the children diagnosed with an Axis I internalizing disorder, a prevalence rate markedly higher than reported for current parent-reported childhood asthma in the U.S. population. Patients with asthma showed higher levels of internalizing problems than their nonasthmatic counterparts. Internalizing psychopathology was not higher for mothers of patients with asthma. Asthma is a significant problem within the population of patients with childhood internalizing disorders. It can be accompanied by a greater severity of internalizing problems and may require specific precautions in the treatment protocol. Though parent report of asthma diagnosis is commonly used in surveys of childhood asthma, our findings have to be viewed in the light of its limitations.

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