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Changes Over Time in Reducing Developmental and Behavioral Comorbidities of Asthma in Children

Blackman, James A. MD, MPH*; Conaway, Mark R. PhD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: January 2012 - Volume 33 - Issue 1 - p 24–31
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e3182396895
Original Articles

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine (1) the progress that has been made in reducing the prevalence of asthma and/or reducing its severity over the past decade and (2) the progress that has been made in reducing the developmental and behavioral comorbidities of asthma during this period. Methods: Rates of asthma, asthma severity, and developmental and behavioral problems among children with asthma were compared between the 2003 and 2007 National Surveys of Children's Health. Results: Asthma rates remained stable between the 2 surveys, but there was a shift from moderate to mild and, to a lesser extent, severe asthma. Comorbid rates of developmental and behavioral problems were about twice as high among children with asthma compared with those without asthma. All problems increased for both groups between the surveys but at a significantly greater pace for repeated grades among children with asthma. Conclusions: Children with asthma continue to have high rates of comorbid developmental and behavioral problems. Over the past decade, these problems are becoming more, not less frequent. Primary and asthma specialty caregivers should be attuned to these comorbidities and implement methods to screen for, assess, and remediate these problems as early as possible.

From the *Division of Developmental Disability, Department of Pediatrics; †Division of Translational Research and Applied Statistics, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

Received February 2011; accepted September 2011.

This study was supported by grant R40 MC 20610 through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Research Program.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Address for reprints: James A. Blackman, MD, MPH, Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center, University of Virginia, 2270 Ivy Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.