Are children with behavioral problems more likely to become asthmatic? This is the question researchers pondered during a study of young children with eczema or atopic dermatitis. Children who have 1 of these conditions are known to have a higher risk of developing asthma. Now, a new study, published recently in Psychosomatic Medicine, suggests that psychologic factors may play a part in the initial onset of asthma.
Using scores from a standardized Behavior Screening Questionnaire (BSQ) for 265 children with atopic dermatitis at the age of 35 to 53 months, the researchers found that 150 developed asthma by age 53 months, compared with 115 who did not. Also, children who developed asthma demonstrated more behavior problems. In the children without asthma by 35 months, a high BSQ score at that age was associated with the onset of asthma by 53 months.
The researchers said that no evidence showed that behavior was affected by asthma after it started. Therefore, behavior problems in this age group are not secondary psychologic reactions to the start of asthma. They believe that behavior problems may be a sign of stress in the child?s life.