Children whose mothers are chronically stressed during their early years have a higher asthma rate than their peers, regardless of their income, sex or other known asthma risk factors.
In a group of children born in 1995, Canadian researchers found that maternal distress that carries on beyond the period soon after birth is associated with an increased risk of asthma at school-age.
The findings appeared in the second issue for January of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.
Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj and her colleagues analysed the medical records of nearly 14,000 children born in Manitoba in 1995 who were continuously registered with Manitoba Health Services until 2003.
Even after controlling for the known risk factors for asthma of male sex, mother with asthma, urban location and total healthcare visits, long-term maternal stress was associated with an increase of nearly a third in the prevalence of childhood asthma.