Send to

Choose Destination
J Psychosom Res. 2012 Oct;73(4):283-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.07.006. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

The longitudinal relationship between parental reports of asthma and anxiety and depression symptoms among two groups of Puerto Rican youth.

Author information

Phyllis Green and Randolph Cōwen Institute for Pediatric Neuroscience, Child Study Center, New York University, Langone Medical Center, NY 10016, United States.



This study aims to examine the relationship between parental reports of child asthma and levels and slopes of anxiety and depression symptoms among two contrasting groups of Puerto Rican youth, and to determine whether asthma is a special risk above and beyond parents' reports of other youths' medical conditions.


Two probability samples of youth in San Juan and Caguas, Puerto Rico (n=673) and in the south Bronx, New York (n=598), and their caretakers were interviewed in three yearly assessments. Parental reports of their children's asthma during each assessment were used to indicate whether youth had intermittent (PR=34%, NY=23%) or persistent (PR=7%, NY=16%) asthma. Youths' depression and anxiety symptoms were assessed using self reports to the DISC-IV. Information on youths' medical comorbidity was gathered through parental reports.


Multilevel analyses adjusting for comorbid medical conditions indicated that parental reports of youths' intermittent and persistent asthma were related to higher levels, but similar slopes, of anxiety and depression among youth in New York. In Puerto Rico, youth with persistent asthma experienced less improvement in anxiety over time than youth without asthma, but no other associations were found.


Having asthma, based on parental reports, represents a risk factor for Puerto Rican youths' internalizing symptoms, even after adjusting for comorbid medical conditions. This risk is more pronounced among youth living in New York, which highlights the importance of considering the social context in which youth develop and minority status when examining associations between physical health risk factors and mental health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center