Family dynamics affect asthma in at-risk kids – Influences

Family dynamics affect asthma in at-risk kids – Influences – Brief Article

Kelly McCarthy

THERE MAY BE A LINK BETWEEN PARENTING skills and the development of asthma in already-susceptible children, according to researchers who cite a correlation between asthmatic parents who have difficulty with child-rearing and the development of asthma in their offspring.

David Mrazek, M.D., chair of psychiatry and psychology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and Mary Klinnert, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Colorado, examined 150 Denver-area children with asthmatic mothers. Many had asthmatic fathers, as well. Researchers found that 28 percent of the children developed asthma between the ages of 6 and 8. This is not surprising, as one in five children of asthmatic parents develop asthma. But children in asthmatic households with “parental difficulties” including marital conflict, mental illness or neglect were more than twice as likely to develop asthma as were children whose asthmatic parents did not have serious problems. “Parental difficulties” were assessed by home visits within three weeks of the child’s birth, long before they developed asthma. The children were followed for eight years, and the results were recently published in the journal Pediatrics.

“Though genetics is a necessary component of the development of asthma in children, it is not the sufficient piece,” says Mrazek. “We wanted to look at the triggers in a young child’s environment.” Mrazek offers common-sense strategies all parents can use to help prevent asthma in their kids: “Keep children away from antigenic foods like eggs and peanut butter; budget time to be with the children; don’t leave babies with a stranger for a few weeks at a time before they are 6 months old, and take care not to expose babies to illness.”

COPYRIGHT 2002 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group