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Psychosocial stress and asthma morbidity

Yonas, Michael A.; Lange, Nancy E.; Celedón, Juan C.

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: April 2012 - Volume 12 - Issue 2 - p 202–210
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e32835090c9
PEDIATRIC ASTHMA AND DEVELOPMENT OF ATOPY: Edited by Carlos E. Baena-Cagnani and Leonard B. Bacharier

Purpose of review The objective of this review is to provide an overview and discussion of recent epidemiologic and mechanistic studies of stress in relation to asthma incidence and morbidity.

Recent findings Recent findings suggest that stress, whether at the individual (i.e. epigenetics, perceived stress), family (i.e. prenatal maternal stress, early-life exposure, or intimate partner violence) or community (i.e. neighborhood violence; neighborhood disadvantage) level, influences asthma and asthma morbidity. Key recent findings regarding how psychosocial stress may influence asthma through Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, prenatal and postnatal maternal/caregiver stress, and community violence and deprivation are highlighted.

Summary New research illustrates the need to further examine, characterize, and address the influence of social and environmental factors (i.e. psychological stress) on asthma. Further, research and innovative methodologies are needed to characterize the relationship and pathways associated with stress at multiple levels to more fully understand and address asthma morbidity, and to design potential interventions, especially to address persistent disparities in asthma in ethnic minorities and economically disadvantaged communities.

aDepartments of Family Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh

bDivision of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

cChanning Laboratory, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Nancy Lange, MD, MPH, Channing Laboratory, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Tel: +1 617 525 0874; fax: +1 617 525 0958; e-mail:

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