Objective: To investigate the links between naturalistically observed conflict, self-reported caregiver-youth conflict, and youth asthma symptoms.
Method: Fifty-four youth with asthma (age range: 10-17 years) wore the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) for a 4-day period to assess interpersonal conflict and caregiver-youth conflict as they occur in daily life. Conflict also was assessed with baseline self-report questionnaires and daily diaries completed by youth participants and their caregivers. Asthma symptoms were assessed using daily diaries, baseline self-reports, and wheezing, as coded from the EAR.
Results: EAR-observed measures of conflict were strongly associated with self-reported asthma symptoms (both baseline and daily diaries) and wheezing coded from the EAR. Further, when entered together in regression analyses, youth daily reports of negative caregiver-youth interactions and EAR-observed conflict uniquely predicted asthma symptoms; only EAR-observed conflict was associated with EAR-observed wheezing.
Conclusion: These findings demonstrate the potential impact of daily conflict on youth asthma symptoms and the importance of assessing conflict as it occurs in everyday life. More broadly, they point to the importance of formulating a clear picture of family interactions outside of the lab, which is essential for understanding how family relationships "get under the skin" to affect youth health.
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