The Chronicity of Depressive Symptoms in Mothers of Children With Asthma

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Depression can disproportionately affect low-income women. The purpose of this study was to explore the chronicity of depressive symptoms in a sample of 276 low-income inner-city mothers of children with high-risk asthma. The aims were to identify factors (asthma health status, stress, social support) associated with change in depressive symptomatology over 12 months as well as to ascertain what factors are most consistently associated with depressive symptoms. Using latent growth curve analysis, demographic variables, asthma severity, stress, and social support failed to explain changes in depressive symptomatology. The growth curve models, however, were predictive of Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression Scale (CES-D) scores at distinct time points indicating that higher daily stress and lower social support were associated with increased depressive symptoms. Our data highlight the chronic nature of depressive symptoms in low-income mothers of children with poorly controlled asthma. Integrating questions about caregiver psychological state across all clinical encounters with the family may be indicated.

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