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Asthma Tied to More Stress & Anxiety in Teens

Asthma Tied to More Stress & Anxiety in Teens

A new study has found that common asthma symptoms are associated with increased levels of stress and anxiety in teens with asthma.

Common symptoms include waking up in the middle of the night and shortness of breath.

Researchers form Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit studied 38 asthma patients ages 14-17. They found that their average scores for stress and anxiety levels were higher than those seen in the general population.

Investigators suggest the findings are a red flag for physicians of young asthma patients.

“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,” said┬áCathryn Luria, M.D., a Henry Ford fellow and the study’s lead author.

“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.”

The study was presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s annual meeting.

Asthma affects an estimated 25.7 million people, including 7 million children ages 18 and under, according to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention. While the cause of asthma is unknown, most people can control their symptoms with medication.

While emotional disorders like anxiety are associated with people with asthma, Luria and researchers sought to evaluate that association in a more defined patient population like adolescents.

Data was collected from well-child visits and a questionnaire completed by the teens. Key findings included:

  • waking up with symptoms, waking up in the middle of the night, activity limitations and shortness of breath were asthma symptoms linked to increased stress levels;
  • waking up with symptoms and waking up in the middle of the night were asthma symptoms linked to increased anxiety levels.

Source: Henry Ford Health System/EurekAlert

Asthma Tied to More Stress & Anxiety in Teens

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Asthma Tied to More Stress & Anxiety in Teens. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 7 Mar 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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