Stressed out mums may worsen their child’s asthma

Mothers who suppress their own emotions, or who have a tendency towards anger and irritation can worsen the severity of their children’s asthma symptoms. Jun Nagano, from Kyushu University Institute of Health Science, Fukuoka, Japan, worked with a team of researchers investigating the stress levels, coping and parenting styles of 223 mothers.

The year-long study has found that mothers of younger children need worry less about their parenting “styles”, but to try and deal with their own stress levels more efficiently, whereas mothers of older children are encouraged to “increase their own wellbeing via proper egocentric and self-defensive activities” and to avoid interfering too much with their children.

Over-interference motivated by excessive protectiveness was found to worsen asthmatic symptoms in over seven year olds. A mother’s chronic irritation or anger was predictive of a more severe disease in the child than those with a mother who had no specific parenting style.

According to Nagano, "A mother's stress (or wellbeing) may be verbally or non-verbally conveyed to her child, and affect the child's asthmatic status via a psycho-physiological pathway, such as by immunoreactivity to allergens or a vulnerability to airway infections".

Source: The parenting attitudes and the stress of mothers predict the asthmatic severity of their children: a prospective study Jun Nagano, Chikage Kakuta, Chikako Motomura, Hiroshi Odajima, Nobuyuki Sudo, Sankei Nishima and Chiharu Kubo BioPsychoSocial Medicine


First Published in October 2010

Click here for more research on the possible causes of asthma




op of page