Objective: This study examined whether maternal psychological distress mediates the relationship between presence of adolescent asthma and number of physician visits and whether the association between maternal psychological distress and physician visits is moderated by adolescent general health.
Methods: Data were obtained from the Mater University Study of Pregnancy and included 4025 adolescents. Path analysis was used to examine mediating and moderating effects.
Results: Maternal psychological distress was found to partially mediate the relationship between adolescent asthma and number of physician visits, accounting for 25% of the effect of adolescent asthma on physician visits (p = 0.046). There was no evidence to suggest that adolescent general health moderated the association between maternal psychological distress and physician visits (p = 0.093).
Conclusions: These findings suggest that maternal psychological distress is associated with increased physician visits, regardless of adolescents' general health. Lowering maternal psychological distress may serve to reduce health care utilization and costs among adolescents with asthma.
Keywords: Health service utilization; mediation; moderation; path analysis; statistical modeling.