Objectives: To compare children with Axis I anxiety disorders and asthma with a matched group of anxious children without asthma on questionnaire measures and response to cognitive-behavioural treatment (CBT) for anxiety.
Method: A sample of 36 children with comorbid anxiety and asthma, aged 8 to 12 years, were matched for age, sex, and specific anxiety disorder with 36 children with an Axis I anxiety disorder but no asthma. Parents and children completed standardized questionnaires.
Results: Children with comorbid anxiety and asthma had significantly more perinatal complications (P = 0.001), and higher total (P = 0.000) and psychological stressors (P = 0.02), especially parent-child problems (P = 0.01), but lower levels of depression (P = 0.03) and anxiety (P = 0.05), compared with anxious, nonasthmatic children. All children reported decreased anxiety (P = 0.001) and depression (P = 0.000) posttreatment, with a trend toward less improvement in anxiety in anxious children with asthma.
Conclusions: Although replication is needed, addressing psychosocial stress and parent-child problems may increase CBT efficacy in children with comorbid anxiety and asthma.