Association of atopic and non-atopic asthma with emotional symptoms in school children

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2013 May;24(3):230-6. doi: 10.1111/pai.12056.


Objective: To date, there is conflicting evidence whether the association between asthma and depression depends on the atopic or non-atopic asthma phenotype. This study investigates associations between emotional symptoms and atopic and non-atopic asthma in school-aged children.

Methods: Cross-sectional data on asthma and allergic diseases at the 10-year follow-up of two birth cohorts were collected by parent-reported physician diagnoses. Specific IgE levels including most common inhalant allergens (SX1) and food allergens (FX5) were measured by RAST-CAP FEIA. Atopic asthma was defined as asthma ever and positive specific IgE test, non-atopic asthma as asthma ever and no IgE sensitization. Emotional symptoms were assessed by parent-reported strength and difficulty questionnaire. Logistic regression modeling were applied to determine likelihood of emotional symptoms in children with atopic and non-atopic asthma controlling for socio-demographic factors, body mass index, atopic eczema, allergic rhinitis, and pubertal development.

Results: Non-atopic asthma was associated with about 3-fold higher likelihood of emotional symptoms compared to children with no asthma (ORadj = 2.90, CI95% = 1.46-5.73). Atopic asthma was not associated with emotional symptoms (ORadj = 1.35, CI95% = 0.81-2.26).

Conclusions: Atopic and non-atopic asthma in children might have different etiologies, whereas for non-atopic asthma, emotional symptoms are relevant, this is not the case in atopic asthma. The relationship between the non-atopic asthma phenotype and emotional symptoms might be dependent on gender.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / adverse effects
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / psychology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / immunology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Food / adverse effects
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / psychology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Male
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects
  • Population
  • Sex Factors


  • Allergens
  • Particulate Matter
  • Immunoglobulin E