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J Trauma Dissociation. 2008;9(2):191-207. doi: 10.1080/15299730802046136.

Asthma severity and PTSD symptoms among inner city children: a pilot study.

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Boston Medical Center and the Boston University School of Medicine, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, USA.


Although the association between posttraumatic stress symptoms and asthma severity among children has been hypothesized, it has yet to be explored rigorously. This study sought to describe the posttraumatic stress symptoms of children with asthma and explore the relationship between asthma severity and posttraumatic stress symptoms in an inner city sample with high rates of traumatic exposures. Children aged 7 to 17 years, with a clinician-defined asthma diagnosis, were recruited from an inner city outpatient asthma clinic. Caregivers completed measures assessing the child's asthma and posttraumatic stress symptoms and health care utilization. Children also completed measures of asthma, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and asthma-related quality of life. In all, 24 children-caregiver dyads were enrolled. The sample was 79% male and 83% African American, and the mean age was 11 years. Overall the sample had severe asthma, with 33% having been hospitalized over the past year. In addition, 25% of the sample met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.) criteria for the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder, and 74% of the sample experienced a traumatic event. Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms were found to be significantly related to asthma severity, quality of life, and health care utilization. Assessing for and treating posttraumatic stress symptoms among children with severe asthma may help to improve their asthma course and quality of life. Further research should explore this relationship and related treatment implications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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