Anxiety and stress levels were higher among adolescents with asthma symptoms such as waking up in the middle of the night and shortness of breath, according to data presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting.
“Because these patients may be particularly vulnerable to stress and anxiety, this information can be helpful to physicians as they counsel their patients about the importance of managing their asthma,” study researcher Cathryn J. Luria, MD, of Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, said in a press release.
To assess the relationship between asthma symptoms and perceived stress and anxiety, researchers evaluated 335 adolescents, of which 38 reported current asthma. Asthma symptoms were assessed via a 7-point Likert scale using six asthma control questionnaire items. Stress was assessed via the perceived stress scale and anxiety was assessed via the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.
Four asthma symptoms were significantly associated with perceived stress, including symptoms upon awakening (P < .001), nocturnal awakening due to asthma (P < .001), activity limitation (P = .005) and shortness of breath (P = .014).
These associations remained significant after adjusting for gender, race and BMI percentile.
Nocturnal awakening (P = .002) and symptoms upon awakening (P = .002) were significantly associated with anxiety.
“While we found a link between asthma symptoms and stress and anxiety, it's not clear which came first — the symptoms or the stress and anxiety. More study is needed to determine that,” Luria said in the release.
Luria CJ, et al. Association between asthma symptom scores and increased perceived stress and trait anxiety in asthmatic adolescents. Presented at: The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting; March 4-7, 2016; Los Angeles.
Disclosure: The study was funded by Henry Ford Hospital.